Saturday, May 06, 2017

Port Arthur

Lindsey and I thought it would be a good thing to take Jim to Port Arthur while we were here.  As you may know, he has a passing interest in Things Penitential and Port Arthur is extremely interesting as far as prisons go.  We had thought we might go today or even tomorrow but yesterday's weather forecast looked the best of the three days so we hopped in the car and went after breakfast.

We were not in any hurry and were definitely in exploring mode, so we stopped a few times on the way, including here at Pirate Bay (well, you almost have to take a detour if you are offered pirates en route to your destination!!)

Looking over Pirate Bay

Inspecting the Tesselated Pavement

The cobbles have been made by the sea, not by humans
Then on we drove to Port Arthur.  It is a truly beautiful place with a truly ugly history. I have once, many years ago, done a night walk around the site.  I would never do that again! Yesterday, however, with the sun shining and in daylight you could admire the beauty and appreciate some of the good things that happened there,  as well as pondering how even well intentioned people can also do truly appalling things.  The Separate prison was meant to be a model of prison reform!

We didn't go on a guided walk and just wandered around looking at the buildings. We did go on the ferry trip around the harbour.

The chapel, in the Separate Prison, which is set up so the prisoners couldn't see one another

The cells are tiny, and were very, very dark

The Separate prison was not just dark, but also entirely silent. No talking by the convicts

Guard tower

Outside the main penitentiary

The Isle of the Dead

Port Arthur  penitentiary looking for all the world like a stately house from the water

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