I was a little apprehensive about going to Port Arthur, firstly because of all the suffering that the convicts endured and, secondly, of the murders that happened there several years ago.
We did, however, decide to visit the Historic site and enjoyed the afternoon immensely. When we arrived, we were placed in a group with a tour guide who lead us around the site, learning the history and hearing many stories about the Port and its’ people. By 1840 more than 2000 convicts, soldiers and civil staff lived here. A range of goods and materials were produce here, everything from stone and bricks to furniture, clothing, boats and ships. Our guide was very enthusiastic and entertaining which was a pleasant contrast to the horrors that the convicts were forced to endure.
Later in the afternoon, the second part of the tour was a 20 minute ferry cruise out to the Isle of the Dead cemetery where all those who died at Port Arthur were taken to be buried.
At one time when it was a thriving ship building and convict settlement there were over three hundred buildings and today is the best preserved convict site in Australia. Now, there are thirty historic buildings and ruins left and they are dispersed in the beautiful well kept gardens.