Things To See And Do:
Isle of the Dead
Next time you visit the ruins of the Port Arthur Penal Settlement on Tasmania Peninsula in Southern Tasmania, be sure to include a boat trip out to the Island of the Dead if you haven’t already been there. The cruise to this small island includes a guided tour, which presents Port Arthur’s history from a totally different point of view to that which is normally told. The tour highlights the human side of the Port Arthur story by offering an insight into the lives of the people who lived and died there.
The Isle of the Dead is a small island located in the harbour off Point Puer adjacent to the Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania. It is a small, picturesque island roughly the size of Sydney's Fort Denison, and lies in the bay between the prison and the open ocean. Originally called Opossum Island, it was selected as a burial place by the Rev. John Manton in 1833. Between 1833 and 1877, about 1,000 burials took place on the island; The majority were convicts and ex-convict paupers who were buried mostly in unmarked graves on the lower part of the island.
The graves of free people - 180 officials, soldiers, women and children - were located in the higher side of the island and sometimes marked by elaborate headstones cut by the convict stonemasons. The island was originally name Opossum Island after a vessel, the Opossum, sought shelter near the island in 1827. It became the burial place for Port Arthur in 1831 (only months after the establishment of the settlement) and almost immediately was divided into free settler and convict burial grounds. At this time it was known simply as Dead Island.
The Isle of the Dead is far from being a gloomy place, though it must have been in Port Arthur's heyday. The novelist Anthony Trollope visited it in 1872 and was much taken by the grave digger John Barton who lived on his little island all alone. Trollope wrote: To the extent of the island he was no prisoner at all, but might wander whither he liked, might go to bed when he pleased, and get up when he pleased, might bathe and catch fish or cultivate his little flower garden. Twice a week his rations were brought to him and in his disposal of them no one interfered with him. Trollope was fascinated that the grave digger would grow flowers on his island but no vegetables, fearing no good would come of eating produce grown among such distressed bones.
Golf at Port Arthur
Just minutes away from Sea Change Safety Cove, the Tasman Golf Course is a wonderful 9 hole course, nestled in the tranquil and historic environs of Point Puer, has plenty to offer both the casual golfer and the more serious player. For pure spectacle,you can’t beat the amazing par 3 eighth hole at the Tasman Club, near Port Arthur – your tee shot has to reach a pocket-handkerchief green on the far side of a deep chasm, where vertical sea cliffs plummet down to surging ocean swells and tossing bull kelp, far below. Telephone (03) 62502444
A truly remarkable work of nature, Remarkable Cave has been carved out of the rock of Safety Cove. The cave, which is actually a natural bridge with two entries from the sea, was created over millions of years by the raging seas which pound this isolated coastline. A staircase leads from the cliff top down right into the mouth of the cave. At low tide it is possible to walk through the cave to the ocean side of the cliffs.