Today we had a day off from working in the labs and the field, and so David and Jean were kind enough to take us on a tour of the greater Port Arthur area, following the spread of convict activities.
We first drove up to the probation station at Saltwater River, and then we spent the most part of the day at the historic coal mines further around the bay. At the coal mines, David and Jean took us on a detailed walking tour around all the main features, such as the prisoners’ barracks and solitary cell complex, the commissariat store at Plunkett Point, and then up to the main mining shaft and the air shaft, stopping to have a nice relaxed lunch by the remnants of the buildings.
After the coal mines, we took a quick detour out to Remarkable Cave to satisfy the tourist within us and then we headed over to Point Puer, which was where they kept the boy convicts from about 9-16 years of age. Looking at the evident ideas of criminology and the execution of criminal justice in the 1800’s was really interesting, especially when you compare it to how things are done today. At Point Puer, David took us on a bit of a bush–bash around all the remaining features such as the solitary cells, the church, the stores, the saw-pits, the incomplete aqueduct and the (possible) tannery.
Back to the house for dinner, and we are about to head off on one of the famous Port Arthur ghost tours, to make some pale new friends… some of us hope…