Maintaining and conserving the Port Arthur Historic Site, with its range of colonial-era structures, requires that some very traditional trades be kept alive.
Over the past couple of weeks, some of those skills have been demonstrated to visitors as part of the Tasmanian Heritage Festival.
Port Arthur staff member Rohan George demonstrated traditional stonemasonry skills as part of a project to repair a sandstone wall adjacent to the Separate Prison. While he now works in conservation project management, Rohan is a stonemason by trade and was delighted to be able to give visitors an insight into convict-era construction methods.
Sandstone for Port Arthur’s buildings was originally quarried near the Site; replacement blocks were selected from a quarry in the north of the State to closely match the colour of the originals.
Rohan then carefully chiselled and shaped the blocks to give their machine-cut appearance a hand-hewn look to match the original stones.