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Friday, December 19, 2014

Port Arthur Penitentiary reopens

Guided tour of the Penitentiary at the Port Arthur Historic Site
(Credit: PAHSMA - Simon Birch)
The Port Arthur Penitentiary will once again be accessible to visitors come the morning of Saturday 20 December. The large scale conservation project at Port Arthur’s Penitentiary, to ensure its survival for future generations, has meant that visitors have not been able to enter the ruin since January 2014. It is with significant pride and delight that the project team unveil the revitalised and now structurally sound ruin to community and visitors. It showcases this iconic structure in a way never before seen.

The completed project allows visitors to engage with the layers of remaining, original fabric in new ways. Previously inaccessible areas are now open to visitors revealing original window joinery, remnant glazing and plastered finishes.

New interpretative features include the footprint of the Musteryard at the front of the building, a timber floor that reflects the original corridors and a glass walkway which affords previously unattainable views of the interior of the building. The fabric of the original cell floor has been laid bare and is complemented by interpretative installation at the opposite end of the building, outlining where the original cells once stood.

PAHSMA Conservation Manager, Lucy Burke-Smith says “We are proud to showcase the project to visitors this summer. The project is another example of conservation practice of an international standard, as befitting this World Heritage Listed Site.”

The multidisciplinary design team, headed by HPA Projects of Sydney, employed progressive design solutions which were capably executed by locally based Managing Contractors, Hansen Yuncken and a team of committed subcontractors. “You don’t achieve quality outcomes such as this without consultants and contractors who genuinely engage with the place and its significance. Everyone involved has made a significant contribution to the conservation of this historic structure and should be commended for their efforts.” said Ms Lucy Burke-Smith.

The ‘new’ Penitentiary, together with the other summer and activities and offerings, makes the Port Arthur Historic Site a ‘must see’ destination this holiday season.

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