Get ready for a historic summer at Port Arthur

December 17, 2015

Get the family together and visit Port Arthur this summer for exciting new experiences as well as some established favourites in our summer activities program.

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

In Pigs and Sandwiches, enjoy a guided walk through the grounds and encounter Commissariat Officer Thomas Lempriere who lived at the Junior Medical Officer’s House at Port Arthur in 1847 with his wife and eleven children. Or, in These Boys Are Not Beasts, visit the dockyards and meet Master shipwright David Hoy, who believed that not all convict boys were ‘bad-uns’ and could be reformed if treated with compassion.. The cost is $10 per person (in addition to the cost of Site entry), with up to six children per family group free.

Daytime visitors to Port Arthur will be able to experience a variety of character sketch performances, 20 minutes in duration, which will be offered six days per week around the restored Penitentiary. Each is based on an historical character from Port Arthur and describes their lives in the settlement. Access to these is included in the cost of in Site entry.

The performances have been developed by Tasman Peninsula-based theatre company Turin Productions, whose core members – Alan Andrews, Rob Rolfe and Sue Benner – are experienced dramatists and performers, who share a passion for research, thematic interpretation and offering accessible, authentic and entertaining visitor experiences, and will be joined by other local performers throughout the season.

Say Cheese: a new offering in our family activities program allows visitors to explore the origins of photography, from the camera obscura to Instagram. Children can have their photo taken in a ‘Victorian Photography Studio’ and make their own Victorian ‘gilt’ frames.

Visitors can experiment with capturing images by making their own pinhole camera while the more adventurous can go on a photography scavenger hunt, and creative souls can take part in our daily Instagram competition. We will also be offering our popular family activities including making convict bricks, fantascopes, love tokens and peg dolls.

If you prefer something a little more relaxing, perhaps Devonshire tea or afternoon refreshments in the elegant Visiting Magistrates House would be more to your taste.

The A Convict in the Family exhibition continues (at Port Arthur and also at the Cascades Female Factory) until the end of February.

The Port Arthur Historic Site will be open Christmas Day from 9.30am-3pm. Enjoy a stroll around the gardens and ruins, there will be some Introductory Walking Tours available too. The Port Arthur Cafe will be open as will the Gift Shop for any last minute Christmas gifts or a memento of your day. Ghost Tours will not be available, but will be back on Boxing Day.

The Cascades Female Factory will be closed Christmas Day but open every other day. The Coal Mines Historic Site is open every day.

For full details of the summer activities program at Port Arthur Historic Site, please visit portarthur.org.au/activities/summer-activities

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

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

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

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