Sunday, July 17, 2005

Port Arthur Historical Site

Our adventure a couple weeks ago was to Port Arthur Historical Site one of the main convict colonies at a place called Port Arthur (about 1.5 hours from Hobart). This is where the criminals from england, scotland, ireland who were sentenced to "transportation" were sent. The convicts were allowed to be transported as young as the age of 9 years. Most of the activity was between 1815-1890. The rehab program used was based on a Quaker principal. They believed that if you just gave these terrible people enough quiet time to think they would sort out all their urges for wrong doing. Today parents call this technique a Time Out. They were placed in small, dark soitary confinment cells for up to 30 days. The only time they were allowed to come out was for mass. The prision church designed for those convicts in total isolation. They could only look forward. Port Arthur is on the Tasman Penisula. There is a narrow section of land (about 100 yards) that connects it with the rest of Tasmania. Here they put a "dogline" to prevent prisoners from escaping. 18 mean dogs were chained about the narrow section of land. They also put the dogs on rafts to spot swimmers. There is also a excellent short cruise aboard a fancy yatch that goes out to the site of the boys prision and grave yard where many of the excons were buried. There is a intersting-kid friendly museum as well. This is a must do for visitors. Any takers?