Twenty years of chills and thrills at the Port Arthur Historic Site

July 31, 2009

Ghost Tours at the Port Arthur Historic Site have become one of Tasmania’s most spine-tingling and enduring tourism experiences. Eerie black-cloaked guides have been leading visitors around the Port Arthur Historic Site by lamplight almost every night for the past 20 years. The visitors have been regaled with vivid stories or reported sightings of apparitions and strange occurrences that have been documented at Port Arthur from the convict era to the present.

The tours have become one of the most popular visitor experiences in Tasmania, attracting upwards of 50,000 night time visitors each year in recent times. While many other locations around the state also now offer ghost tours, the unique history, sense of place and the detailed records that have been maintained of reported sightings or occurrences mean that the original Tasmanian ghost tour experience is still the best. Port Arthur is believed by many ‘ghost hunters’ to be the most haunted place in Australia.

Guiding supervisor and long-time Port Arthur guide Colin Knight said that guiding staff are currently compiling these records into a database that will serve as a resource for guides and others interested in the historic site’s ghostly past.

“We do not impose any views on visitors regarding the existence or otherwise of ghosts or paranormal activity,” said Colin. “What we can say, thanks to these records, is that there is a very long history of people experiencing and seeing things that cannot be easily explained.”

“It is this information that we base our ghost tours on, and the reason we refer to them as ‘historic ghost tours’. We don’t just tell random ghost stories, we base ours on real reports, both historic and contemporary, and we simply let people make up their own minds. I think that makes for a truly special and spooky experience.”

Historic Ghost Tours operate at Port Arthur nightly, except for Christmas Day and the
special one-off date of Saturday 5 September 2009, when Port Arthur Ghost Tour Guides
past and present will gather for a special anniversary celebration dinner.

If you are, or know the whereabouts of, a former ‘Ghostie’ guide, please contact Sue Fowler at the Port Arthur Historic Site on 03 6251 2342 so she can send an invitation to the dinner.

Port Arthur Ghost Tour Guide Ken Lee entralls visitors at the old church

Port Arthur Ghost Tour Guide Ken Lee entralls visitors at the old church