NEW: Daily Museum House Talks
Port Arthur Guides are now offering daily talks in two of the most popular of our Museum Houses at Port Arthur. Join them to hear about the history of the house and details about some of the occupants, their lifestyles, the conservation of the building, and some of the highlights of the house's furnishing and design.
To hear these talks, simply be at the respective museum house at the times listed below. Access to these talks is included in the cost of Site entry.
Junior Medical Officers House, on Civil Officers Row
10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm
11.30pm, 1.30pm and 3.30pm
The Commandant was Port Arthur’s most senior official. A residence befitting his rank and position was erected on high ground on the fringe of settlement in 1833.
The Commandant's House, originally built as a simple wooden cottage, had a commanding view over the rest of the settlement. It evolved over the years to become a many-roomed complex fringed by ornate gardens and pathways and separated from the rest of settlement by high masonry walls.
As Tasmania’s period of convict transportation drew to a close in the late 19th century, the building changed hands to become the Carnarvon Hotel in 1885 and then a guest house which operated until the 1930s.
Civil Officers Row
The Junior Medical Officer's House (1848) was originally built for the Commissariat Officer Thomas J. Lempriere.
It is one of five houses which form Civil Officers Row. This building, along with the Parsonage (1842), The Accountant's House (1842), The Magistrate's and Surgeon's House (1847) and the Roman Catholic Chaplain's House (1843), were all constructed during the 1840s and intended for the most important officials of the settlement.
Today, the Junior Medical Officer's House and the Parsonage are furnished and open to visitors, while the Accountant's House serves as our Education Centre. The Parsonage also houses a display that celebrates the post convict-era history of the area.
This cottage, typical of the post-convict Carnarvon period of the settlement, was built around 1900 for the Trentham family and has been restored to appear as it may have done around 1915.
Smith O’Brien’s Cottage
Originally built as a stable, this building was converted into a cottage to house one of Port Arthur’s most famous political prisoners, Irish Protestant Parliamentarian William Smith O’Brien. Following the closure of the Port Arthur prison, the cottage was used as a private residence, then as a youth hostel.