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Community celebration of Port Arthur's post-convict heritage


Port Arthur is famous (or infamous) for its convict past. It was a penal settlement for a little under fifty years, from 1830 to 1877. But what happened at Port Arthur after that?

In partnership with the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, members of the Port Arthur community are organising a weekend of festivities on 20 & 21 October, 2012 to celebrate Port Arthur’s long post-convict heritage, which saw the township grow into a farming community and home to many people, as well as a tourist attraction and historic site.

Local resident Roseanne Heyward is chairing the committee of volunteers that is putting the Port Arthur Memories Revisited celebration together.

“The aim is to bring people together to remember and share memories of sport and recreation, industries, tourism, the township and school, and families,” said Ms Heyward.

“We would love to hear from anyone who has lived, worked, visited, played sport or camped at Port Arthur and would like to participate, send a message or share a memento.”

“There will be plenty of fun activities available to all visitors to Port Arthur over the weekend, but we would especially love to hear from anyone who would like to join us for some of the very special events that will only be available to registered participants, like the celebration dinner and a very special harbour cruise.”

“The weekend will also mark the opening of a permanent museum display at the Historic Site celebrating the history of the post-convict era at Port Arthur. We would love people to contact us if they have photos, tickets, brochures, posters or letters of the post-convict era – as copies of them could be incorporated in the display or as part of a community photo display that will be part of the weekend’s events”.

“We’ve already been contacted by people who are planning to come back for the weekend, because they want the chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues.”

An initiative of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority Community Advisory Committee, which includes local residents, the event aims to remember and celebrate Port Arthur’s post-convict heritage and the people associated with it.

“We are all terribly proud of and excited by Port Arthur’s World Heritage status,” said Ms Heyward. “Port Arthur Memories Revisited is a chance for us to remember the area’s long history after the convict era by acknowledging the community and their contribution while embracing and looking forward to the future of Port Arthur and the region.”

Port Arthur Historic Site CEO Stephen Large said the Board and staff were indebted to the organising group for taking on such a worthwhile initiative in bringing many people back to Port Arthur.
“It will be a fabulous opportunity for PAHSMA to showcase the Site and the wonderful work done here the last few years, particularly for those attendees that have not been to Port Arthur for some time”.

Port Arthur Memories Revisited will be held at the Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, on October 20 and 21, 2012. People interested in attending are urged to contact the organising committee to register as special entry arrangements will need to be made.

Check the website for further information, or contact: Roseanne Heyward on (03) 6250 3372 or 0448 503 333, or email

Community celebration of Port Arthur

In the 1960s and early 1970s, a camping ground and caravan park graced the area in front of the Penitentiary at Port Arthur. Photo by John E. Thompson.

Community celebration of Port Arthur

A similar view today. Photo by Jonathan Wherrett.