Research

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority provides a range of services and resources to assist people undertaking research into aspects of convict and colonial history, genealogy, tourism and heritage management studies.

Our Resource Centre is located within the Administration building at the Port Arthur Historic Site. The Centre houses a collection of current and archive resources that we make publicly accessible and continue to develop for our ongoing research requirements and staff needs.

The collection was initially organised during the Port Arthur Conservation Project (PACP) 1979-1984. The information generated included photographs, slides, plans and archaeological data. Today the collection covers material with an emphasis on the convict period and the conservation and management of the historic sites, as well as historical, geographical, archaeological, sociological, educational and other aspects of Port Arthur Historic Site and the Tasman Peninsula. Other subjects of relevance include museum studies, interpretation, colonial crafts and trades, gardening, Tasmanian and Australian history.

While the collection includes information on Port Arthur convicts and free people it does not include original Tasmanian convict records. Convict records are held in the custodianship of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO), however most have now been digitised and can be viewed online via the Libraries Tasmania website.

Services offered include:

  • Advice on convict and genealogical related research
  • Research Enquiry Service including record searches and transcripts
  • Convict records online (via Libraries Tasmania website)
  • Photocopying (a fee is charged for non-staff)
  • TAMIOT (Tombstone and Monument Index of Tasmania)
  • Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office indexes online (via Libraries Tasmania website)
  • Tasmanian Federation Index
  • Access to online catalogues including image and newspaper indexes e.g. TROVE.

Opening Hours and Contact Details

Access to the collection is via the Administration building at the Port Arthur Historic Site, Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please contact our team to make an appointment.

Phone: +61 (0)3 6251 2324 / +61 (0)3 6251 2326
Email: library@portarthur.org.au

Research Enquiry Service

Our research team can help you with research into Tasmanian convicts – whether they came to Port Arthur or not. We can also help you to research non-convicts who had a relationship with Port Arthur or the Tasman Peninsula – for example, a Medical Officer, Commandant or Overseer.

Digitised Tasmanian convict records are held at the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office and can be sourced from the Libraries Tasmania website. We can help you to source digitised material, including conduct/police records, indents (which may provide details of relatives), physical descriptions, appropriation lists and applications for permission to marry.

We can also check a variety of indexes, including our own, for reference to a person and conduct a name search to find out if that person arrived in Van Diemen’s Land as a convict. While we are not able to conduct in-depth genealogical searches, we can give you some advice on general genealogical research.

We also provide typed transcriptions of conduct records, indents or description lists, to help you decipher the abbreviations these documents often contain.

Please download and complete our Enquiry Form and return it to our Resource Centre at library@portarthur.org.au.

Fees

Most basic searches take between one and two hours to complete and are finalised within four to six weeks of your request.

$45 minimum fee (includes up to one hour search/transcription time)

$45 per hour for each additional hour (or part thereof)

$0.66 per page for printouts, plus postage and packing

$60 urgent order fee (in addition to the minimum fee)

To get started, contact us for more information.