The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) has been successful in securing a $135,000 federal Tourism Infrastructure Regional Fund (TIRF) grant for a project that will significantly enhance the visitor experience for cruise passengers.
The funds, which will be matched dollar for dollar by the Authority, will be used to extend its current jetty facility at Port Arthur with a purpose built landing for visiting craft, to address the specific needs of cruise ship tenders and also allow simultaneous access to the berth by tender vessels and our own harbour cruise vessel, providing a safer and less congested experience to more visitors.
This congestion has been cited by cruise companies as a risk factor and disincentive to increasing the number of port calls made by cruise ships at Port Arthur. By removing this disincentive, we will attract more visits by cruise ships to Port Arthur, either en route to or from port calls in Hobart. This will both enhance the visitor experience for the passenger (the alternative being up to four hours on a coach to visit Port Arthur as a shore excursion from Hobart) and increase overall length of stay and expenditure by cruise passengers in Southern Tasmania.
By virtue of its location, Port Arthur’s historic development is closely tied to maritime industries, with early settlers and convicts arriving at the site by boat. Over one hundred vessels were built at Port Arthur’s dockyard, once the busiest and most productive in Van Diemen’s Land. Here, convicts crafted hundreds of whaleboats, ships’ buoys, brigantines and barques for private and government customers.
When the site ceased to be a penal settlement in the late 1870’s it became one of Australia’s first tourism attractions, with early steam boats transporting visitors from Hobart from 1870 until the 1920’s. The contribution of our history is so significant that the Historic Site was included in the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage listing in July 2010.
Design work on the project is underway and PAHSMA hopes that the jetty will be ready in time for the next summer cruise season, Port Arthur’s busiest ever, with at least ten cruise ship visits scheduled.