If all the stories of the hardship endured by convicts at Port Arthur get a bit much this summer, visitors will be able to escape to the stylishly refurbished former residence of the Visiting Magistrate to ease their bodies and minds over afternoon tea.
The historic Visiting Magistrates House has enjoyed many uses in its more than 160 years, and this is not the first time that it has offered hospitality to visitors. Originally constructed in 1847 for the Visiting Magistrate Robert Pringle Stewart, the building was occupied by various officials, including the Senior Medical Officer and the Roman Catholic Chaplain, during the convict period.
After Port Arthur closed as a convict settlement, the building was converted for use as a guest house and renamed Clougha in the 1880s. The house barely escaped the 1895 bushfire and continued to welcome guests until the 1940s. In subsequent years it was used as office space for the various authorities managing the site.
This historic home, with its magnificent vista over the Port Arthur Historic Site has been lovingly refurbished to reflect something of the comfort and style enjoyed by civil officers of the mid-Victorian era.
Visitors will also be able to experience a taste of the finer things in life, with afternoon tea and fresh baked scones, jam and cream, handmade petites fours and gourmet sandwiches.
High Tea is available from 30 December-31 January, daily from 2.30-4pm The cost is $29 per person and reservations are essential – call 1800 659 101.