Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
If all the stories of the hardship endured by convicts at Port Arthur get a bit much this summer, visitors will be able to escape to the stylishly refurbished former residence of the Visiting Magistrate to ease their bodies and minds over afternoon tea.

The historic Visiting Magistrates House has enjoyed many uses in its more than 160 years, and this is not the first time that it has offered hospitality to visitors. Originally constructed in 1847 for the Visiting Magistrate Robert Pringle Stewart, the building was occupied by various officials, including the Senior Medical Officer and the Roman Catholic Chaplain, during the convict period.

After Port Arthur closed as a convict settlement, the building was converted for use as a guest house and renamed Clougha in the 1880s. The house barely escaped the 1895 bushfire and continued to welcome guests until the 1940s. In subsequent years it was used as office space for the various authorities managing the site.

This historic home, with its magnificent vista over the Port Arthur Historic Site has been lovingly refurbished to reflect something of the comfort and style enjoyed by civil officers of the mid-Victorian era.

Visitors will also be able to experience a taste of the finer things in life, with afternoon tea and fresh baked scones, jam and cream, handmade petites fours and gourmet sandwiches. High Tea is available from 30 December-31 January, daily from 2.30-4pm The cost is $29 per person and reservations are essential - call 1800 659 101.

Paranormal Investigations available weekly

Due to popular demand, our Paranormal Investigation is now available every Saturday night during January 2013.

This innovative and thrilling new adults-only, late-night tour, named Best New Tourism Development at the 2012 Tasmanian Tourism Awards, allows the visitor to become the ghost hunter. It has been selling out since launching last February.

This January, we will be offering weekly Paranormal Investigations, where visitors are shown how to use high-tech testing and recording equipment and conduct their own searches for evidence of paranormal activity in some of Port Arthur's reputedly most haunted buildings.

Bookings are essential - call us on 1800 659 101 to reserve a place.

Bringing history to life

The Port Arthur Historic Site offers something to engage and enthral every member of the family this summer. The ever-popular Port Arthur History Plays make a welcome return, every day from 27 December to 25 January, except Saturdays. This year, the plays are produced and directed by Chris Hamley, who performs with Michael Edgar, Nelson Ohl and Nicole Farrow.

Each play runs approximately 20 minutes and access is included in the cost of Site entry.

Learn a traditional trade

Many convicts played helped to build Port Arthur, some as skilled tradesmen and others as apprentices. From 6–20 January daily, except Saturdays, visitors can find out about the trades involved and what it means for conserving the site today.

Kids large and small can try their hand at the traditional Port Arthur trades of stone masonry and brick laying, or work with our experienced conservation staff and learn how convicts carved stone and laid bricks. Access is included in the cost of Site entry.

Family fun and traditional pastimes

Try your hand at some traditional crafts at our Education Centre. Make your own peg doll or replica ΒΌ size convict brick. Learn about early animation by assembling a phantascope or discover early wallpaper design by creating some yourself. Activities are offered in two sessions each day from 26 December-27 January, between 12–1.30pm and 2–3pm. Access is included in the cost of Site entry.

Full information and session times available at www.portarthur.org.au/summer

Her Story twice daily until April

The popular dramatised guided tour telling the story and experiences of a convict woman at the Cascades Female Factory will be offered twice daily until the end of April, at 11.00am & 1.30pm. Bookings and information www.femalefactory.org.au or call +61 (0)3 6233 6656.

Contact Profile

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

The Port Arthur, Coal Mines and Cascades Female Factory Historic Sites in Tasmania are all World Heritage-listed and offer essential, must-see experiences for any visitor to Tasmania. All three sites are managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority.
Andrew Ross
P: 03 6251 2300
M: 0419 120 058
W: www.portarthur.org.au


Port Arthur, historic site, tasmania, travel, history, heritage, convict, high tea, activities, fun, family



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