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 can experience all that the site has to offer.

If visiting for a day, we recommend the Basic Student Package and up to two additional tours and/or activities. For a two-day visit, we recommend the Basic Student Package and up to four additional tours and/or activities. Click here for education activity rates.

Basic student package

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$11 per student ($11.50 from 1 April 2022) / 1 staff member per 10 students at no cost/ additional staff member $11 each ($11.50 from 1 April 2022).

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.

Guided Education Tour (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 requests. Choose from our Guided Education Tour Stop Descriptions.

‘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.

Resources available on our Education Resources page.

Additional Activities

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Add optional education activities to your Basic Student Package to give your students a hands-on history lesson.

Before you visit, download our classroom resources to help your students prepare for their time at Port Arthur.

  • First activity – $5.00 per student ($5.50 from 1 April 2022) / $100 minimum total cost
  • Two activities – $8.00 per student ($8.50 from 1 April 2022)  / $160 minimum total cost

Riddles and Rubbish

Activity duration: 50 minutes (maximum of 20 students per session)

Suitable for upper primary and secondary school students

Solve a ‘history mystery’ by examining riddles and rubbish from Port Arthur’s past. Using convict records and artifacts, 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.

Resources are available on our Education Resources page.

Brickmaking

Activity duration: 30 minutes (maximum of 20 students per session)

Suitable for primary school students

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 about how they were made, before creating their own quarter-size convict brick to take home, complete with thumbprints!

Resources are available on our Education Resources page.

Breaking the Code – Temporarily not available

Activity duration: 75 minutes (maximum of 20 students per session)

Suitable for upper primary and secondary school students

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.

Resources are available on our Education Resources page.

Additional Tour options

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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 harbour cruise

Suitable for upper primary and secondary school students

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 person ($8.50 from 1 April 2022).

POINT PUER BOYS’ PRISON

Tour duration: 2 hours, including habour cruise

Suitable for upper primary and secondary school students

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. 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 person.

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

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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 your visit

Check out the Planning Your Visit and Educational Resources pages for advice and pre-visit lesson plans.

School visits

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Decided to come to Port Arthur? Please send us your requests as early as possible, to ensure the availability of tours and activities.

Contact the education team

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Want to learn more?

To discuss how to get the most out of your visit to Port Arthur, contact our Education staff.