Grounds & Gardens

The History

As early as the 1830s ornamental trees were planted at Port Arthur. By 1838 the avenue leading to the Church from Tarleton Street was lined with young trees provided by the Governor of the day, Sir John Franklin.

It was Commandant Champ who, in 1846-47, developed Government Gardens as an ornamental garden primarily for the enjoyment of the ladies of the settlement. The gardens were much admired and reached their peak in the late 1860-70s. After the closure of Port Arthur the gardens were neglected until reconstruction began in the 1990s.


A number of distinct gardens can be explored and enjoyed within the Site, including Government Gardens, and the reconstructed Commandant’s Garden which was originally planted in the 1850s.

You can also visit the early 20th century flower and vegetable gardens and orchard at Trentham Cottage, wander along avenues of magnificent oaks, elms and conifers and see native Tasmanian species in the bushland surrounding the Site.

A printed guide to the plants of Government Gardens is available for download below, or available on site.

The Port Arthur Heritage Seed Nursery gives you the chance to grow a little piece of history for yourself. The nursery offers a selection of seeds collected from 19th century plant varieties grown at the Site. Seeds are available in the Gift Shop from November to January.

Access to Port Arthur’s gardens is included in the cost of site entry.

Special guided tours of the Gardens may be organised by prior arrangement—please call 1800 659 101 at least one week prior to your visit.

The Fountain in Government Gardens