This Five Dollar Solid Gold coin focusing on the Port Arthur Historic Site is part of the Colonial Heritage series. The
coin forms part of a set of six which also includes Hyde Park Barracks, Cascades Female Factory, Freemantle Prison, Coal
Mines Historic Site and Old Government House. The
Port Arthur in Tasmania was established during the 1830's. It was originally a penal settlement and became a part of Australian history. The grounds contain around sixty buildings in a beautiful location looking across Mason's Cove and Carnarvon Bay. After the ceasing of prisoners brought in from overseas back in 1853, the number of prisoners arriving dwindled but it still received a substantial percentage of colonially sentenced men. The need of Port Arthur to be a sustainable station, large expanses of bush were harvested to feed the timber industry and they turned the old flour mill into a penitentiary and some workshops with a steam driven sawmill, blacksmith, forge and a carpenters workshop. In 1864 their final project of an Asylum was undertaken. It was the belief at Port Arthur that the convicts could not simply spend their days getting flogged and rotting in a cell, they needed to be reformed through a combination of religion, education and trade-training. But the problem of an ageing convict population were its downfall and by 1877 the last convict had left the premises (Port Arthur Historic Sites, 2013) . Today it is one of Tasmania's most popular tourist destinations and it embraces its past with ghost stories that come with a guided tour!
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