Port Arthur, located on the Tasman Peninsula, was originally a penal settlement in Tasmania. Given that the land is attached by a one-hundred-meter stretch that was home to the infamous "dog line" that would keep the prisoners from escaping, the land served as a natural prison and was deemed suitable for building a prison. A secondary-offense prison, the worst of the hardened criminals were sent here to serve their time. Abandoned at the end of the nineteenth century, when the prisoners were all set free, the ruins of the old stone buildings from around the prison serve now as a museum that you can visit to learn about the convicts, the people, and the families that lived and worked there. If you are brave enough, they run ghost tours during the evening that you can take to learn about some of the strange happenings in the place, both during the time it operated as a prison and after.
In 1996, Port Arthur was devastated by the largest lone-man massacre in the history of Australia, an event that saw thirty-five people die, spurring the creation of gun laws in Australia. A memorial to those that lost their lives can be found within the museum complex.
Port Arthur is a very small town with friendly people. The easiest way to get there is by car but if you do not have one, then Tassie Link Bus Services operates buses that run from Hobart. Choices for Port Arthur hostel accommodations are limited, so ensure that you book early to avoid missing out on your stay, especially in the summer months.
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