Webmapping - Port Arthur

The Port Arthur penal settlement began life as a small timber station in 1830 and quickly grew in importance within the colonies. Ship building was introduced on a large scale to Port Arthur as a way of providing selected convicts with a useful skill they could take with them once freed.

Between 1830 and 1877, the Peninsula was a closed complex that covered all the major systemic touchstones in Australia’s convict experience: a repository for colonial offenders; a major hub for probation stations (1840–56); and a work-focused welfare establishment (1856–77). Across this period a large range of coordinated activities were carried out, from primary resource extraction to complex manufacturing, all linked to the sentencing and conduct of prisoners (Figure 1).The 1853 cessation of transportation resulted in fewer transportees arriving at the station. However, the 1850s and 1860s were years of remarkable activity, that aimed to make the station economically sustainable.

Port Arthur’s story did not end with the removal of the last convict. Almost immediately the site was renamed Carnarvon and, during the 1880s, land was parcelled up and put to auction, people taking up residence in and around the old site.


Port Arthur
The Tasman Peninsula