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Records and whip - just two examples of the  artefacts and Australian convict records at Port Arthur

Records and whip

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.

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Tuesday 25 November, 2014

Edward Murphy's signal charts

presented by Mark Risby

Edward Murphy, a convict prison guard in the 99th Regt of Foot in Van Diemen’s Land during the 1840s and 1850s, produced eleven unique maritime charts.  Containing the various types of signalling used by the maritime and penal systems, the charts display the only known diagrams of the individual merchant ships identification flags for use only in Hobart Town. 

His lavishly illustrated charts show in fine detail 250 different flags and over 300 telegraphic semaphore signals and their decodes.  This presentation will provide an insight into the man and his unique artwork.

Mark Risby is a seventh generation Tasmanian who held various positions for 22 years in his long established family business of sawmilling, timber production and retailing. After retraining he was the risk management consultant at Shadforths Ltd for over 14 years, a financial planning and stockbroking firm in Hobart. With interests including vexillology (the study of flags), sailing, bushwalking, ornithology, topiary, family, marine and military history, he is also an ex-Royal Australian naval reservist, and member of the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.  

Tuesday 25 November, 2014 at 5.30 p.m. at the Junior Medical Officer's House conference room (rear of the house), Port Arthur Historic Site

For more information call 6251 2324

Port Arthur Talks leaflet - Mark Risby


Thursday 12 February, 2015 

Tasmanian Devils on the Tasmanian and Forestier Peninsulas ~ an update

presented by Stewart Huxtable

The Tasmanian Devil is listed as a threatened species due to the impact of a contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). Despite this a small population of devils still persists on the Peninsula. The talk will outline the broad range of conservation efforts being undertaken by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program and discuss population trends in devils on the Peninsula, the impact of DFTD on this population, and the steps being taken to secure a population of wild living, disease free devils on the Peninsula. 

Stewart has been a biologist with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program at DPIPWE for 7½  years, working on the monitoring and management of both wild and captive devils.  Since 2009 he has been responsible for the on-ground implementation of devil management actions on the Peninsula. Stewart has a postgraduate diploma in Biodiversity Conservation and Management, and has previously worked for the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Tropical Savannas Co-operative Research Centre and Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Thursday 12 February, 2015 at 5.30 p.m. at the Junior Medical Officer's House conference room (rear of the house), Port Arthur Historic Site

For more information call 6251 2324

Port Arthur Talks leaflet - Stewart Huxtable


Tuesday 26 May, 2015

Natural values of the Coal Mines Historic Site: birds, butterflies and beauties  

presented by Mark Wapstra

The presentation will be an informal walk-through the history of the Coal Mines Historic Site but from a natural values point of view. The focus will be on the vegetation and an interpretation of its current state with a look back to historical use, including clearing and fire, and the importance of the reserve (and surrounding areas) to biodiversity, especially threatened species. The reserve is a critical breeding site for the endangered forty-spotted pardalote, a known foraging area for the endangered swift parrot, a key site for the endangered hairstreak butterfly, and a hotspot for orchids, including threatened species such as the tailed spider-orchid.

Mark Wapstra is a born and bred Tasmanian naturalist and environmental scientist. With a degree in Life Sciences from the University of Tasmania, followed by a stint as a volunteer lake biologist in Antarctica, he spent over a decade in the controversial forest industry as a government ecologist, before embarking on his own environmental consulting company, specialising in threatened flora and fauna, vegetation classification and conservation management planning. His “spare” time is spent as Editor of the Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club’s annual Journal The Tasmanian Naturalist, undertaking self-funded research into Tasmania’s threatened flora, especially orchids (a throwback to his youth hanging out the back of the car “orchid-hunting” with his parents and twin brother) and plant/wildlife photography.

Tuesday 26 May, 2015 at 5.30 p.m. at the Junior Medical Officer's House conference room (rear of the house), Port Arthur Historic Site

For more information call 6251 2324

Port Arthur Talks leaflet - Mark Wapstra