Port Arthur Talks

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority presents this semi-regular series of talks by authoritative speakers on a variety of topics, ranging from history and conservation to environmental issues, research results, study tours and much more.

The talks are held every couple of months at the Port Arthur Historic Site, are free of charge and open to anyone who is interested in the topic. Rich and varied subjects and speakers make for fascinating listening and discussion.

Each talk begins at 5:30pm in the building at the rear of the Junior Medical Officer’s House at Port Arthur Historic Site. Light refreshments provided.

For more information about our Port Arthur Talks, please phone +61 (0)3 6251 2324.

5 April

Shortly after New Zealand became a British possession, transportation sentences to Van Diemen’s Land became common to any that were deemed unwanted. As a result, at least 109 men and one woman arrived in Hobart from New Zealand between 1843 and 1853. Almost half of these men were, or had been, British soldiers, while others were sailors, ‘white collar’ criminals, Māori, or simply ‘vagrants’.

This presentation shall explore colonial New Zealand attitudes towards colonisation, crime, and transportation. It will canvass the reasons why those sentenced to transportation became enmeshed in the courts and shall provide case studies to explore what became of those transported to Van Diemen’s Land.

Dr Kristyn Harman is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Tasmania who specialises in cross-cultural encounters of Britain’s nineteenth-century colonies, and twentieth-century Australasia. Her two books on the subject of New Zealand transportation have been awarded the Australian Historical Association Kay Daniels award and the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction section of the Ockham New Zealand book awards.

Port Arthur Talks leaflet – Dr Kristyn Harman

21 June

By the 19th century, the ‘panopticon’ prison paradigm, as envisioned by famed philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, had received limited support in Britain due to the prevalence of transportation to New South Wales. In retaliation to what he believed to be a conspiracy against his works and the will of parliament, Bentham began to write a thousand page manuscript titled ‘A Picture of the Treasury’ so as to expose the violation of justice and constitution that transportation represented. This talk shall cover Bentham’s opposition to transportation, the impact that the singular published section of the ‘Picture’ caused and how crowdsourced transcription plus volunteer transcribers are contributing to the production of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.

Tim Causer is a Senior Research Associate at the Bentham Project, in the Faculty of Laws, University College London. He is currently working on Bentham’s writings on Australia, transportation, and colonialism, which will make up a volume of Bentham’s Collected Works. Since the completion of his PhD on the Norfolk Island penal settlement he has also co-ordinated the award-winning crowdsourced transcription initiative, Transcribe Bentham and published the earliest Australian convict narrative, titled Memorandoms by James Martin.

Port Arthur Talks leaflet – Dr Tim Causer



10 October