The concept of visiting The Penitentiary Chapel based on its historical value as a part of the National Trust of Tasmania appealed to us both.
|The view while driving toward Hobart from the south.|
Living for six weeks in this somewhat remote area in the Huon Valley in the town of Geeveston, we mentioned in a prior post, has a population of under 1500. Traveling the 45 minutes to Hobart makes sense considering our desire to learn more about this exceptional island and its treasures.
|The gift shop upon entering the historic building.|
Since arriving in Tasmania on December 3rd, and after having been aware of the fact that many convicts were sent to a variety of Tasmanian prison facilities, The Tench was on our radar. Although not mentioned in the quote below, The Penitentiary Chapel and its rich history falls well into the realm of intrigue as explained in the quote below.
|The tour began with only us and one other couple in attendance in a classroom environment where our tour guide, Merilyn, explained the history of the facility.|
From this site:
Tasmania's convict history tells a tale of crime, punishment, hardship and survival in some of the harshest, yet most beautiful places on earth. Over 70,000 men, women and children were transported to Van Diemens Land in the early 1800s and many of the places and features they built are still standing today. (Continued below).
There's evidence of Australia's convict past no matter where you go, making Tasmania the perfect place to learn about Australia's early history and experience it first-hand. In fact, five of Australia's eleven UNESCO World Heritage-listed convict sites are found in Tasmania. (Continued below).
The Port Arthur Historic Site is Australia's most famous penal settlement, while the nearby Coal Mines Historic Site was Tasmania's first mine, operated by over 500 convicts. Today, mining ruins and relics can be explored among the surrounding bush land. (Continued below).
In Hobart, the Cascades Female Factory tells of the thousands of female convicts transported to Tasmania. On Maria Island, off Tasmania's east coast, the buildings of the Darlington Probation Station date back to the 1820s and are set in a beautiful natural environment. (Continued below).
And in the north, the stately Brickendon Convict Village and Woolmers Estate are extraordinary testaments to the hard work of convicts assigned to private landowners. (Continued below).
Other convict highlights include Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour and the convict built bridge in Richmond. As well as these, there are lots more convict sites across the state – in fact, a visit to just about any of our earlier towns will reveal the hard labour and skilled craftsmanship of Tasmania's convicts."
Warmly greeted at the entrance office by Joan, a 20 year volunteer at the historic site, we appreciated being hosted with our enthusiastic intent of sharing this vastly interesting and significant piece of Tasmania and Hobart history with our worldwide readers.
|A replica of a punishment imposed on disruptive prisoners whereby they stood in these sectioned spaces turning a large barrel for hours at a time.|
|View of exterior wall of the facility.|
|Door knocker at the entrance to the gaol (jail) at the Campbell St. entrance.|
|Taken from a photo of a former entrance.|
|Taken from a photo of a small portion of one of the prison yards before this area was torn down in the 1960's.|
|The historic court where accused criminals were processed.|
|A portion of the facility was designated as a residence for the magistrate (judge) which later became holding cells.|
|Stairway in the court that led to the tunnels where prisoners were held awaiting trial. We walked down these steps to inspect the cells below.|
|We took this photo from a CCTV of the mechanism of the historical clock which remains functional.|
|Bell on display with other memorabilia from 1936.|
|Organ in the chapel.|
|This bathtub was used by prisoners who bathed once a week, one after another, using the same water.|
|Seating for the chapel, built in 1831 and 1833 could accommodate 1500, was built over a variety of solitary confinement cells some of which were so small the convicts were unable to stand.|
|Some crumbling cells remain able to be observed by visitors.|
|The small size of the cells may be determined in this photo.|
|The gallows remain today. We stood in this area with both a sense of awe and horror.|
|Taking a bathroom break before our tour, Tom insisted I check out the |
"Heritage" toilet. He always teases me that he's "pulling my chain" to which
I add, "I don't have a chain!" This is the type of chain he's referring to.
A special thanks to Joan and Merilyn for sharing this special site with us and for the opportunity to share it with our worldwide readers. Hopefully, next time you're in Hobart, you'll take the time to visit this historic site.
Photo from one year ago today, January 21, 2016:
As soon we arrived at to our new home we began taking photos of these wonderful creatures which we thoroughly embraced over the three months we lived on the alpaca farm in the countryside in New Plymouth, New Zealand. For more details, please click here.