Port Arthur Talks

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority presents this semi-regular series of talks by authoritative speakers on a variety of topics, ranging from history and conservation to environmental issues, research results, study tours and much more.

The talks are held every couple of months at the Port Arthur Historic Site, are free of charge and open to anyone who is interested in the topic. Rich and varied subjects and speakers make for fascinating listening and discussion.

For more information about our Port Arthur Talks, please phone +61 (0)3 6251 2324.


Forthcoming Port Arthur Talks

Thursday 22 June 2017

Runaway Convicts: Absconding Patterns in Colonial Australia

presented by Professor Hamish Maxwell- Stewart

Until recently many historians have down-played the rate of convict resistance. Recent research suggests that we might have to rethink this. Between 1824 and 1860 over 22,000 reward notices for runaway convicts were placed in the Van Diemen’s Land Government Gazette. Tens of thousands more appeared in the New South Wales equivalent. This paper uses this data to explore runaway patterns. Comparing these with other unfree societies, including slavery in the United States, it argues that convicts were highly mobile and that much of this withdrawal of labour was connected to work place resistance. This explains why the colonial state took absconding so seriously. Runaways were savagely punished, many of them ending up in penal stations like Port Arthur.

Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is a Professor of social history in the School of Humanities at the University of Tasmania. His research uses Tasmania’s colonial archives to explore intergenerational health issues and he is best known for his knowledge of convict transportation. He was awarded the Margaret Scott Award for the best book by a Tasmanian author in 2010, for his book ‘Closing Hells Gates’. He is currently collaborating with researchers at the universities of Liverpool, Sheffield, Oxford and Sussex on the ‘Digital Panopticon’ project, which is looking at the global impact of London Punishments between 1780 and 1925, as well as with Port Arthur Historic Site and the University of New England on a project to determine the effectiveness of convict labour as a tool of reform and training.

All welcome.

Thursday 22 June 2017 at 5.30 p.m.

Junior Medical Officer’s House conference room (located behind the Junior Medical Officer’s House)

Port Arthur Historic Site

For more information call 6251 2324

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Cooking the Colonial Way

presented by Sally Wise

For about fifteen years, Sally Wise has been fascinated by the food provided to the convicts, and meals of the colonial period in general; from the style of cookery and the cooking equipment to the culture that it related to.  In this presentation, Sally will discuss the methods of cooking and the availability of ingredients during the colonial era in Tasmania including references to meals and rations eated by the officials and convicts at the Port Arthur penal settlement.

Sally Wise is passionate about seasonal produce and cooking with natural, readily-available ingredients.  A bestselling author of 15 cookbooks and owner/operator of the Sally Wise Cooking School, she is a regular guest on ABC radio in Tasmania and has been a presenter at functions such as the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival as well as various community events.  A teacher/trainer at secondary school, Adult Education, Vocational Education and Training level, she has also recently conducted a cooking course to prison inmates.

All welcome.

Wednesday 23 August, 2017 at 5.30 p.m.

Note: The venue has changed for this talk as follows:

Port Arthur Motor Inn (dining area), 29 Safety Cove Rd, Port Arthur (access from the road to Safety Cove)

For more information call 6251 2324