New walkways improve access on the Isle of the Dead

October 3, 2017

Guided tours of the Isle of the Dead resume with new walkways

The Isle of the Dead is a small island just 700 metres offshore from Port Arthur Historic Site in Mason Cove.  Tours to this tiny island, where over 1,000 convicts, soldiers, women and children of the settlement were buried, are a popular addition to the visitor experience of the World Heritage site.

Isle of the Dead walkway

Isle of the Dead walkway 2017

Works over the last six weeks have replaced the timber boardwalk on the north side of the island with a new steel framed walkway and viewing platform.  The new extended viewing platform will improve the experience to allow more people to view the convict-crafted headstones as our guides share stories of those that never left Port Arthur.

Isle of the Dead walkway protecting historic gravesites

Isle of the Dead walkway protecting historic grave sites

The project was partly funded by a Protecting National Historic Sites grant of $80,000 from the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy.   The walkways are specially-designed to minimise disturbance of the ground and historic remains and were air-lifted into place using Osborne Aviation squirrel helicopters.

Osborne Aviation airlifting materials to the Isle of the Dead

Osborne Aviation airlifting materials to the Isle of the Dead

As well as immediately improving the tour experience and protecting the heritage values of the site, this new walkway is the first stage of a larger project to provide greater access for visitors with restricted mobility.

Port Arthur Historic Site Map Isle of the Dead

location of the Isle of the Dead at Port Arthur Historic Site