Museum House Talks

The History

As a prison settlement, Port Arthur was not only home to the many convicts and their guards but also to the officials who ran the prison, and their wives and children.

Civil Officers Row consists of five cottages dating from the 1840s; the homes of the highly ranked officers.  The Commandant’s House dates from 1833, a rambling home that was added to throughout the history of the settlement, and was home to the chief official of Port Arthur.

Many of these homes would have had convict servants to attend them, such as Margaret Dalziel – a female convict servant at the Commandant’s House in the 1850s.  Read more about Margaret’s life here.

When bush fires struck in 1895 and 1897 many of the buildings at Port Arthur were reduced to ruins and ash, but many of the houses remained intact after efforts were made to save them – after all these were homes, not prison buildings.

While most houses on site date from the convict era, some date from the post-convict township of Carnarvon.

 

Visit

A number of the historic houses at Port Arthur that have been restored and furnished to offer visitors an insight into daily life at the settlement.

Most restored houses are open to visitors between 9.00am and 5.00pm daily.

Port Arthur guides offer daily talks in two of the most popular of our Museum Houses at Port Arthur. Join them to hear about the history of the house and details about some of the occupants, their lifestyles, the conservation of the building, and some of the highlights of the house’s furnishing and design.

To hear these talks, simply be at the respective house at the times listed below. Access to these talks is included in the cost of Site entry.

Junior Medical Officer’s House
House opens at 10am
Talks at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm

The Commandant’s House
House opens at 10am
Talks at 11.45am, 1.45pm and 3.45pm

museum home display Port Arthur, Commandants House, historical display homes