Port Arthur

Today we dive into the beginnings of the colonization of Tasmania through white men. The habit to push off disagreeable criminals to the other end of the world here had been taken to extremes. Who in New South Wales still behaved improperly was given another sea voyage, this time usually without return.

Nowadays you can visit the ruins of Port Arthur, a penitentiary on a peninsula south of Hobart. What miserable live they must have had, absolutely independent of the status as prisoner or guard. There have been several attempts to escape but they were all doomed to failure. The neck to the peninsula was guarded very well. If you indeed succeeded to pass the guards you had to face the impervious rain forest. So-called horizontals, trees really growing horizontal, made it impossible to get through. I guess who really managed to escape quite simply just died of hunger.

Fortunately these days you are allowed to just stroll over the grounds freely, enjoying the sun. They partly restored some of the old buildings that had all collapsed to ruins. Other houses, eg. the perfectly furnished house of the priest, are still standing as if its residents could come back any moment. The view inside the cells is eerie, I also sense the atmosphere inside the living quarters as depressing. I am glad to start on a boat trip crossing the bay, around the old burial island. Here we at least have some wind blowing into our faces.