Hobart Convict Penitentiary

About Hobart Convict Penitentiary

Discover a slice of Tasmania’s rich history at the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, nestled within the bustling heart of Hobart CBD. Here, the echoes of the past reverberate through the underground tunnels, solitary cells, and gallows that bear witness to the harsh realities of convict life in Van Diemen’s Land. Originally built as an extension to the Hobart Prison Barracks, the chapel’s imposing design boasted thirty-six solitary confinement cells beneath its floorboards. The polished architecture of Colonial Architect John Lee Archer is still visible to this day, standing as a testament to the hardships and struggles of those who were once imprisoned within its walls. By visiting the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, you can unlock the hidden secrets of this internationally significant convict site and gain a better understanding of Tasmania’s fascinating history.

Located in Hobart, Tasmania, the Hobart Convict Penitentiary, known to its residents as the Tench, was constructed in the early 1830s to keep up with the increasing number of convicts coming into the colony. Designed by Civil Engineer John Lee Archer, the prison saw over 50,000 male convicts pass through its gates during its time as a correctional facility. What was once a virtual prison city enclosed by high stone walls is now recognized as a place of historical significance. After the transportation of convicts had ended, the grounds were converted to serve other purposes, including Hobart’s Old Gaol and Supreme Court. The Hobart Convict Penitentiary represents a pivotal moment in Tasmanian and Australian history and continues to inspire interest in both locals and tourists alike.

Hobart Convict Penitentiary

What to do at Hobart Convict Penitentiary

Step into Tasmania’s dark and harrowing past with this guided tour, providing daytime access to courtrooms and tunnels that lead to the chapel. The immersive film experience, ‘Pandemonium’, projects a four-metre-tall image on the very walls where convicts once sat, providing a contextual understanding of Tasmania’s convict sites. Through the film, visitors will be transported back in time and explore the chaos of convict life in Van Dieman’s Land, connecting us to the journeys of our ancestors from their convictions, transportation, and beyond. This is a professional and informative tour, paying homage to a fascinating yet dark period of Tasmania’s history.

The site of the former Hobart Gaol offers a unique glimpse into Tasmania’s notoriously dark past. After the cessation of convict transportation, the gaol housed prisoners for over a century, with sections of the chapel later converted into Supreme Courts. The gaol’s macabre history is fully evident in the execution yard and gallows added to the site. Fortunately, the public can explore this storied location, and knowledgeable guides lead tours through the site’s maze of corridors. Visitors can also participate in various events, including the Ghost Tours and Pandemonium, a gripping Convict Film Experience. Whether for educational purposes or to satiate other interests, the gaol’s captivating past leaves a lasting impression on those who visit.

Hobart Convict Penitentiary

One local company in Hobart that is involved in this tourist attraction site is:

Website: Hobart Bathroom Renovations Experts

Address: 199 New Town Rd, New Town TAS 7008

Phone: (03) 6152 6136


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