Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, close to Hobart on the southern coast of Tasmania and is one of Australia's most significant heritage areas.
The site forms part of the Australian Convict Sites, a World Heritage property consisting of eleven remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries on fertile Australian coastal strips. Collectively, these sites, including Port Arthur, now represent, "the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts"
Port Arthur was named after George Arthur, the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land. The settlement started as a timber station in 1830, but it is best known for being a penal colony. From 1833, until 1853, it was the destination for the hardest of convicted British criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia.
Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment, Port Arthur also had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system and was one example of the "Separate Prison Typology" (sometimes known as the Model prison).
The prison was completed in 1853 but then extended in 1855. The layout of the prison was fairly symmetrical. It was a cross shape with exercise yards at each corner. The prisoner wings were each connected to the surveillance core of the Prison as well as the Chapel, in the Center Hall. From this surveillance hub each wing could be clearly seen, although individual cells could not.
Since 1987, the site has been managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, with conservation works funded by the Tasmanian Government and the admission fees paid by visitors. The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO inscribed the Port Arthur Historic Site and the Coal Mines Historic Site onto the World Heritage Register on 31 July 2010, as part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property.
To this day, Port Arthur is one of Australia's best known historical sites, receiving over 250,000 visitors each year.
Can i get to Hobart if the ship stops at Port Arthur?
Yes, its about 100km but you will need to have pre-arranged the transport as there is very little available locally.