Chasing Ghosts in Tasmania - Port Arthur

I am always looking for new experiences, places that I can stretch my psychic muscles and feel the paranormal.
Therefore I was really looking forward to my visit to Tasmania - not only to see a very good friend who has moved there but to head back to a place I have visited once before, Port Arthur.


Port Arthur was named after George Arthur, the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land. The settlement started as a timber station in 1830, but it is best known for being a penal colony.
From 1833, until 1853, it was the destination for the hardest of convicted British criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia. Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment. In addition Port Arthur had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system.(wikipedia)

Port Arthur has a similar history to that of Newcastle, as it started as a Penal settlement, although unlike Newcastle, the site has become a top tourist destination having retained many of its original buildings.
How I wish that Newcastle still had at least some of our original buildings from that convict era! What a sight it would be!
But anyway...

There dozens of stories of visitors to the site having encounters with the ghosts that still seem to linger at this dreadful place. I did not want to do the ghost tour, I didn't have time to stay back until the evening, but neither did I really want to to be truthful.
I was seeing and feeling enough during the day thank you very much!


I went up for a walk to where the Broad Arrow Cafe once stood.

What is left is a grim reminder of the Massacre that happened there in 1996 when a man killed 35 people and wounded 23 others and the site gained another horrifying chapter to its history.

Martin Bryant, a 28-year-old from New Town, a suburb of Hobart, was found guilty and given 35 life sentences without possibility of parole. Following the incident, it emerged in the media that Bryant had significant intellectual disabilities. He is now imprisoned in the Wilfred Lopes Centre near the Risdon Prison Complex.
The Port Arthur massacre remains one of the deadliest shootings worldwide committed by a single person. Following the spree, the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, introduced strict gun control laws within Australia and formulated the National Firearms Programme Implementation Act 1996, restricting the private ownership of high capacity semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and pump-action shotguns as well as introducing uniform firearms licensing. (wikipedia)


As I walked around this very small space I imagined the fear of those inside. In my mind I could feel the panic and the terror of those facing Bryant that day.
The area is now secluded behind high bushes, so that if you wish to go and see it, you can but it is not in full view - a very respectful way of doing it.


I visited the Governor's Cottage where I came across the spirit of a young girl I felt her walking around and playing hide and seek with the visitors. I also met a gentleman, in spirit outside of the cottage. I didn't really make out who he might be, but we later found out that a convict was buried close by. Was it this fellow that I felt tapping me on the back of my head earlier?


The Parsonage has a long history of ghostly sightings with many different stories which will bring chills to anyone reading about them. But for me on my visit, the place was devoid of any feeling.
Cold actually.
Maybe I needed the cover of nightfall to experience some of the things others have on this spot?


The Isle of the Dead was a fascinating tour although I wish I had more time there to really experience the site. A short trip by catamaran took us out to a small dot of land where the military had pride of place on top of the hill with magnificent headstones and memorials whilst the convict population were buried in unmarked graves around the lower areas - their sites now merging with the island invisible to the naked eye.

Our tour guide told us some of the stories, both convict and military, of those buried on the island. Sad, sad stories of people whose hopes and dreams were painfully worn away and whose identities were lost in the trauma of colonisation.

I would have been happy to be left wandering for an hour or two but we were whisked off after 45 minutes to allow for the next group of tourists to hear the same stories we had just heard.
That's the way it goes.

Port Arthur does require the better part of a day to see it all.
Its a site where , if you allow yourself to immerse into it - it will talk to you.
It is not just a site filled with empty and decaying buildings.
It is much more.
How anyone survived is a wonder.
I totally recommend a visit to this unique site that tells such a story of the early years of Tasmania's history.


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