What was Port Arthur used for? Why is it here? Who has been here, and why?

You’ll get so much more from your visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site if you do a little detective work before you arrive.


General Resources

Take a look at our resources to find out about the convict era and the people who lived, worked, and served their prison sentences at Port Arthur – then come along and see for yourself where these stories really happened!

If you would like to request any additional resources or information that you can’t find on our website, please contact the Education Officer

Discovery Box

The Port Arthur Discovery Box is a fantastic way to give your students a first-hand experience of Port Arthur, without leaving the classroom. This resource includes two travelling boxes filled with authentic convict artefacts, photos, maps, books, information and a list of additional resources. A teaching pack is also included.
The Discovery Boxes are available to Tasmanian schools, and can be borrowed free of charge for 2–4 weeks. Bookings are essential. Boxes can be collected from the Port Arthur Historic Site or the Cascades Female Factory Site in South Hobart.

Contact us for further information, or to book your Discovery Boxes now.

Class lessons

We offer a selection of unique learning experiences at the Port Arthur Historic Site that your students will treasure for life. From education tours to activities, many of our on-site experiences have accompanying classroom lessons to help you create the best learning experience for your students, before and after your visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site

Making a Better World? Year Nine Tour

To get the most of this tour, we strongly recommended that students study this history before visiting, through either the Year Nine History curriculum, or the pre-visit learning in our Year Nine Education Program Guide.

Riddles and Rubbish

In the Riddles and Rubbish activity, students solve two ‘history mysteries’ by examining riddles and rubbish from Port Arthur’s past. Using real convict records and artefacts, students discover what historical sources can tell us about the past, and how historians and archaeologists use this evidence to piece together stories from history. This activity is suitable for upper primary and secondary students.

Convict records and transcripts

Brick making

Students discuss briefly the nature of bricks from around the Port Arthur Historic Site and the variety of types. We will handle and look closely at original convict bricks and when students have gained a little knowledge about the processes involved they will have the chance to create their own brick to take home, complete with their thumbprints!

Pre-visit activity

Post-visit activity

Breaking the Code

In this activity students take part in an interactive role-play challenge, working in teams to send and receive a semaphore message across the Port Arthur Historic Site. Breaking the Code is a fun and exciting way for students to gain an insight into the lives of the convict semaphore operators, and to discover a significant development in Australia’s history.

Additional Resources

School Visits

Book a visit

Please send us your booking requests as early as possible, to ensure the availability of tours and activities.

Contact our Education team

Contact Us

Want to learn more?
To discuss how to get the most out of your visit to Port Arthur, contact our Education team.