Summer activities at Port Arthur

Twilight Tours: A Walk in the Past

Actor Alan Andrews channels Master Shipwright David Hoy in These Boys are Not Beasts, one of the new Twilight Tours available at Port Arthur this summer

A Walk in the Past is a set of two family-friendly experiences incorporating a twilight tour and a theatrical performance that allows the audience to explore the people, places and changing nature of Port Arthur.

27 December – 29 January, except Saturdays

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Afternoon theatrical performances


Alan Andrews and Liz Darvell in Pigs and Sandwiches, one of the new Twilight Tours available at Port Arthur this summer

Daytime visitors to Port Arthur will be able to experience three new short theatrical performances each afternoon in the vicinity of the Penitentiary.

Each short performance is based on a significant historical character from Port Arthur’s past and describes their lives in the settlement.

27 December‐29 January, except Saturdays

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School Holiday Activities

Young visitors make peg dolls

Between midday-3pm each day, you can drop in to the Education Centre (The Accountant’s House) to engage in interactive displays, play nineteenth century games, or take part in one of our hands-on activities such as making a convict brick, dressing a peg doll, designing a convict love token or making a fantascope.

26 December – 26 January daily

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A Convict in the Family

Samuel Hodgkinson photographed with items similar to those stolen by his convict ancestor William Bellamy. Photograph (c) Mine Konakci

Comprising large-scale photographs by documentary photographer, Mine Konakci, A convict in the family? explores the connection between convict settlers, their living descendants and the petty crimes that changed the course of their family history.

On display until 28 February at Port Arthur and the Cascades Female Factory

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Say Cheese: Explore the origins of photography

A portrait of Commandant James Boyd, 1868

These school holidays we invite visitors to join us in the Policeman’s House to discover the history of photography and the role it has played in the Port Arthur story. Children can have their photo taken in a ‘Victorian Photography Studio’ and make their own Victorian ‘gilt’ frames.

Visitors can discover the history of the camera, from the first camera obscura to the smartphones of today, through a display of photos and objects, and experiment with capturing images by making their own pinhole camera. Those with an adventurous spirit can take on the photography scavenger hunt challenge, and creative souls can take part in our daily Instagram competition.

10-22 January, except Saturdays

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Archaeology at Port Arthur

The archaeologists uncover what was once, illicit contraband: hand-crafted gaming tokens.

In the area behind the magnificent Penitentiary, our archaeologists are excavating the site of the former ablutions block and exercise yards. This is a great opportunity to view the largest excavation ever undertaken at Port Arthur and to see features from the convict period which have lain under the turf for the last 150 years. Join our archaeologists for a trench side update and find out exactly what they have discovered.

11 January – March 2016. Trench side talks 2pm daily except Saturdays

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Refreshments at the Visiting Magistrates House

Fine dining room at the Visiting Magistrates House, Port Arthur Historic Site

Refresh yourself in style at the Visiting Magistrates House this summer. Enjoy a premium Tasmanian wine or beer, tea or coffee and light refreshments including Devonshire Tea in this nineteenth century home, which was once occupied by some of the settlements’ most important dignitaries.

It’s a little bit indulgent and a lot of fun

28 December – 28 February, 10:30am-4pm except Saturdays