Port Arthur


Port Arthur
/pɔt ˈaθə/ (say pawt 'ahthuh)

noun
an inlet and small town on the Tasman Peninsula in south-eastern Tasmania, south-east of Hobart; a notorious penal settlement 1830–77; now part of the national estate.
Port Arthur is in territory traditionally inhabited by the Paredarerme people. The Tasman Peninsula was explored by Abel Tasman in 1642, and by George Bass and Matthew Flinders in 1798–99, and was charted by Louis de Freycinet of the Baudin expedition in 1802. In 1830 a penal settlement was established here to consolidate all the Van Diemen's Land penal stations in one area: Macquarie Harbour and Maria Island settlements closed as a result. It operated until 1877, 14 years after transportation ceased and after at least 12 500 convicts had served their sentences here. During that period a military detachment and guard dogs at Eaglehawk Neck prevented all but a few escapes. The bushranger Martin Cash and his associates were among the few who succeeded (in 1843). Historic buildings on the site were restored from 1979 and include the 1836 church, the 1842 hospital and the grain mill, one of the largest in Australia, built in 1844 and converted to a penitentiary in 1855–57. Since 1987 the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority has been responsible for preserving and maintaining the site, now regarded as one of Australia's most important heritage sites and a major tourism destination. In 1996 it was the scene of the Port Arthur massacre.

Australian English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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