A school visit to Port Arthur Historic Site is an enriching learning experience – and it’s also a lot of fun. Come for the day, or stay in the Port Arthur area overnight so you don’t miss a thing.
Basic student packageBook a visit
Our Basic Student Package includes site entry for two consecutive days, a site map, access to more than 30 historic buildings, ruins and gardens, a 30-minute Harbour Cruise and a Guided Education Walking Tour.
Cost: $11 per student / one staff member at no cost per 10 students / $11 per additional staff member
Guided Walking Tour
Choose from our Guided Education Walk options.
Guided Education Walk (Primary and Secondary)
This interactive tour encourages student enquiry, and covers several locations on site where students will hear stories of life at Port Arthur, and consider whether the settlement was a place of punishment, reform or both. The tour includes the Waterfront, Penitentiary Precinct, Hospital and Separate Prison. Alternative locations can be substituted by special request.
‘Making a Better World?’ Guided Walk for the Year Nine Curriculum
Developed in line with the Australian Curriculum for Year Nine History, this tour helps students to discover the significance of Port Arthur through exploring the settlement’s three main phases – as a timber-getting station, secondary punishment station and probation system.
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.
ActivitiesBook a visit
Add an optional school activity to your Basic Student Package to give your students a hands-on history lesson.
- First activity – $5.00 per student / $100 minimum total cost
- Two activities – $8.00 per student / $160 minimum total cost
- All three activities – $11.00 per student/ $220 minimum total cost
Riddles and Rubbish
Activity duration: 50 minutes (maximum of 25 students per session)
Solve a ‘history mystery’ by examining riddles and rubbish from Port Arthur’s past. Using real convict records and artefacts, students will learn what historical sources 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.
Activity duration: 30 minutes (maximum of 25 students per session)
In this fun, practical activity, students will learn about a variety of hand-made bricks from around the Port Arthur Historic Site. Students will examine some original convict bricks and learn a little about how they were made, before creating their own quarter-size convict brick to take home, complete with thumbprints!
Breaking the Code
Activity duration: 75 minutes (maximum of 20 students per session)
Before electric telegraphs and telephones arrived in the colonies, a system of semaphore stations was used to send coded messages between Port Arthur and Hobart Town. In Breaking the Code, students discover some of the challenges associated with communication in the 19th century, and learn how to operate a semaphore station using replica equipment and real codes developed by Commandant Charles O’Hara Booth.
Tour optionsBook a visit
Enhance your students’ learning experience with our optional tours, which can be added to the Basic Student Package.
Please note that these tours are not recommended for people with restricted mobility.
ISLE OF THE DEAD
Tour duration: 1 hour, including ferry crossings
Between 1833 and 1877, at least 1100 people were buried on the tiny Isle of the Dead, in Port Arthur’s harbour. This guided walking tour enables students to gain an insight into the lives of some of the people who lived, worked and died at Port Arthur. Some study prior to this tour is recommended.
Cost: $8 per student, accompanying staff at student rate.
POINT PUER BOYS’ PRISON
Tour duration: 2 hours, including ferry crossings
The Point Puer Boys’ Prison was the first separate boys’ prison in the British Empire, and was known for its stern discipline and harsh punishment. Three thousand boys were imprisoned here between 1834 and 1849 – some as young as nine years old. This guided walking tour will introduce students to the stories of the prison and the boys who served time here.
This tour is suitable for upper primary and secondary students, and some pre-visit study is recommended.
NOTE: Point Puer is an archaeological site, without buildings, shelter or toilet facilities. Weather conditions can be extreme here, and students will need to walk some distance on uneven terrain. All participants must be suitably dressed and equipped for walking, and for the weather.
The Point Puer Boys’ Prison Tour is not available during August.
Cost: $8 per student, accompanying staff at student rate.
Tour duration: 90 minutes
Port Arthur Historic Site has a history of strange stories and sightings. On this tour, students will join our black-cloaked guides and venture out into the night by lamplight to hear vivid stories of strange occurrences that have been reported here.
NOTE: Ghost Tours are not recommended for children under the age of 10, and are not suitable for wheelchairs.
Between October and April, the tour may finish very late, and so we advise staying overnight in the local area.
Cost: $14 per student, accompanying staff at student rate.
SELF-GUIDED AMAZING RACE
This self-guided activity is available to download free of charge, and can be conducted on site without assistance from a Port Arthur Guide.
In the Amazing Race activity, students visit up to seven locations on site to find answers to a series of questions. Students can race against the clock or each other, in teams, or as individuals. This activity is suitable for upper primary to lower secondary students.
Special Interest Groups
Can’t find a tour or activity to suit your needs?
In most cases we are able to tailor the onsite experience to suit each education group’s area of study. Please contact the Education Officer if you are visiting with a special interest group (i.e. tourism or business focused class) to discuss your options.
Preparing for a visitPlan your visit
We have many classroom lesson plans and resources which to help you plan a successful school visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site.