xenith: (Eucalypt)
I thought I should write something myself but while I was gathering some link, I decided the introduction to the Wikipedia article says it quite well. So...

William Smith O'Brien was an Irish Nationalist and Member of Parliament (MP) and leader of the Young Ireland movement. He also encouraged the use of the Irish language. He was convicted of sedition for his part in the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848, but his sentence of death was commuted to deportation to Van Diemen's Land. In 1854, he was released on the condition of exile from Ireland, and he lived in Brussels for two years. In 1856 O'Brien was pardoned and returned to Ireland, but he was never active again in politics.

Or there's the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Or an obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1864.

Or this biography in the paper describing the National Library of Ireland's William Smith O'Brien collection:

O'Brien became a member of Daniel O'Connell's Catholic Association but disliked O'Connell's threat to the political interests of the local Clare gentry class. He and O'Connell also disagreed over Irish poor law, tithe reform, the repeal of the corn laws, and non-denominational education reform. After O'Connell was imprisoned for sedition in 1843, O'Brien joined the Repeal Association and acted as leader in O'Connell's absence. This brought him into contact with a group of younger men led by Thomas Davis and associated with the Nation newspaper. A dispute arose over Young Ireland's support for Robert Peel's proposal for three non-denominational university colleges. Young Ireland also disliked O'Connell's conciliatory moves towards Lord John Russell's new Whig government. Matters came to a head when in August 1846 Thomas Meagher attacked O'Connell's non-violent approach and O'Brien led a split between Young Ireland and the Repeal Association. The following year O'Brien became leader of Young Ireland's Irish Confederation.

When the government ordered the arrest of several prominent Young Irelanders including Charles Gavan Duffy and suspended habeas corpus O'Brien attempted to initiate a rebellion. Enthusiasm was muted and on 29 July 1848 he and several others besieged Widow McCormack's house, outside Ballingarry in county Tipperary where police had taken her children hostage. O'Brien was arrested on 7 August and in October 1848 he was sentenced to death for high treason. This was later commuted to transportation for life to Van Dieman's Land.


On arrival, he was sent to Maria Island, to the probation station at Darlington, where he was given a cottage to live in. That one there, with the open door and the sign out the front.

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This is why I was particularly keen to visit Port Arthur now. Yes, it's a tree and a beach. Well, OK not the tree.

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One large, yellow brick building by the sea.

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I was a bit optimistic thinking I could do this in one post, so I added some more photos and made it two!


Locational photo of the military area. The barracks, over the back, were demolished a long time ago. To the left was Rose Cottage, the senior officer's house. The orange/yellow cottage was the married officers quarters. To the right of this, in a smaller cottage now demolished, was the school for free children.

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Two of the Carnarvon-era buildings.

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From Government Cottage, looking along the garden path.

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Commandants House. I love that this place isn't presented like the usual old house museum with rooms full of nothing but period furniture usually sourced from elsewhere, which makes it interesting to look through. If you pick the house up and put it elsewhere, it would be worth a visit just on its own.

Come inside )
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The Model or Separate Prison, built 1848.

'Model' because it was built using the latest ideas in prison reform, was based on the system used at Pentonville, that was based on system developed at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and would be used in the building of the third wing at Melbourne Gaol a few years later (that which is now the Old Melbourne Gaol museum).


If you're wondering why there's a prison building and the big penitentiary building down by the water: one is for punishment, one is for a barracks for prisoners. Does that make the Separate Prison a prison within a prison within a prison?

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Back to the touristy stuff :)


My favourite ruin is the hospital, built 1842, with 4 wards to accommodate prisoners and soldiers. There was one ward top and bottom behind the existing gable, so I assume two on the other side as well.

Bought by the Catholic Church for use as a boys home. Burnt down in 1895 bushfire, but they rebuilt. Burnt down again in the second bushfire.

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Coming back from the dockyard, there's a couple of weatherboard cottages, from the early 20th century which didn't rate photos (one was in use, one hiding behind bushes) and now I can't remember what they even were. Then on from them, also behind some bushes, there's a brick shell. There's a lot of brick shells around this place. The bricks are different though. At least, I assume that's what mother noticed.

"Is that some modern building?"

"It's Broad Arrow Cafe."


I did go to find a link to use, but that turned out to be a very bad idea. So, no words, except those that are already there.

OK? )
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The road leading to the dockyard. The eucalypts along the edge of the road were apparently planted in 1860, just in case you ever wondered what 150 year old gum trees looked like.

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Not sure where to start with this. The buildings on the site are sort of grouped thematically (military, civil, convict) so I'll use that for individual posts. But to start with? I should make some attempt at an overview, so a mixture of photos that aren't enough to make a post on their own :)



You can see where the bridge from the first photo must be, even if you can't see the actual thing :)

Here's one thematic grouping: paupers' mess (at front), asylum (orange building with sandstone tower at the front and separate/model prison (low brown/grey building at rear). You can see the connection?


This was one of the last buildings constructed, in 1863, with the nearby asylum added five years later. (*mutters about websites that are glorified advertisements)

In the late 1850s there was an influx of invalids and paupers that had formerly been housed in the station at Impression Bay. To cope with them, four timber dormitories and a mess hall were built. The timber dormitories were demolished. The mess here was destroyed in one of the bushfires.


From the mess, that's the hospital on the hill.

From hospital

View from on top of the hill. (Yes, that big brick thing is the penitentiary, it's a bit hard to avoid it :) The ruins, except for the dockyard, are on this side of the site. The big open space is a cricket oval. The shiny visitors centre is up to the left, in the trees. The smaller brick building just in front of the trees used to be a cafe.



Part of Civil Row, a row of houses built for the civil officers (surgeon, accountant, medical officers, magistrate & chaplains).

See the long, glass-fronted building at the back? That's the motel we stayed in. That's called "close to the historic site". Rather convenient (also, breakfast is included in the room price).


Other half of Civil Row and the Church of the Glowing Windows. The little weatherboard building is St Davids Anglican Church, built 1927.


There were more houses at the military end of town. These steps led up to the garden of Rose Cottage, home to the senior military officer and his family.


Steps from the cottage. According to the information panel, it was a timber cottage but the kitchen and outbuildings were of brick, which is what remains now. It survived the 1895 bushfire but fell to the 1897 fire.

A good view of the dockyard from here.

Photo 35

Next door to Rose Cottage and at the end of the road, is the commandant's house. From the driveway, through the ornate entrance gate, you get a good view of the rest of the site.

Point Puer
Carnarvon-era houses.

Hmm. I could use almost any of those as a jumping off point to the next chapter. Any requests? :)

xenith: (Brisbane Hotel)
Another new post card. On the back is a short letter dated "21-9-08". The image on the front is rather interesting though.

Yes, it's a view of the church at Port Arthur, possibly the most common image found on Tasmanian postcards, even more than Mt Wellington. It's one of those images that's you see too often and it doesn't change, so you don't even pause to look at it. *yawn* Just flick to the next one.

So what made me buy this?

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