Port's bloody past

from page 2 of The Star, April 29, 1996

by Andrew Pillinger

  Port Arthur is one of Tasmania's most popular spots for tourists not just because of its tranquil beauty, historic church ruins, or boating lake, but because of its bloody and criminal past.
  Nowadays pleasure boats fill the lake in an idyllic scene, but over 150 years ago Britain's hardest criminals were shipped there in chains for a lifetime of hard labour in exile.
  Between 1830 and 1877 more than 30,000 convicts arrived at the habour.
  And when they died they were buried on an island in the middle of the lake -- today it's still called the Isle of the Dead.
  The old jail, the cemetery and the ugly past are major attractions on Tasmania, beaten only by national parks and the vast wilderness.
  Now chillingly, it's as if the area's violent and criminal history has come back to haunt it.

[images: "Ruins: The church" (4x7)
map of Tasmania, locating Port Arthur (4x6) ]

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