Underground Tunnels. Chapel. Solitary Cells. Gallows.
Uncover the hidden secrets of this internationally significant convict site – located right in the heart of Hobart CBD!
In the early 1830’s, a service in the chapel of the Van Diemen’s Land Prisoners’ Barracks Penitentiary was far from a serene and holy experience.
The building, in the shape of a cruciform, was designed by John Lee Archer to make additional space for the growing number of convicts arriving in the colony. The design included thirty-six solitary confinement cells beneath the chapel floor, which were later declared inhuman.
The Penitentiary is home to incredible stories of crime and punishment in Van Diemen’s Land, with courtrooms and underground tunnels, to the chapel, solitary cells, and still-working gallows of this fascinating historic convict site, which later became Hobart’s old Gaol and Supreme Court.
Access to the site is by Guided Experience only.
The Penitentiary is also available for private bookings, school tours and conference cocktails, contact us for more information.
National Trust properties throughout Tasmania are open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 4pm. However we encourage all visitors to either contact the property or call 6344 6233 prior to visiting, as hours may change due to the changing nature of requirements as a result of the impact of COVID-19. Stay safe.
Pandemonium – The Convict Film Experience
This guided tour provides daytime access through the court rooms and tunnels to the chapel, where you will be immersed in the chaos of Convict life in Van Dieman’s Land through the world-class multi-sensory film experience ‘Pandemonium’, before being led through the cells and gallows of one of Australia’s most significant convict precincts.
Projected four metres tall onto the walls of the Penitentiary Chapel where the convicts actually sat, the film delivers an experience that drives right to the heart of Tasmania’s dark past, contextually connecting the convict sites around the state, and exploring the journey – from conviction, to transportation and beyond – of our convict ancestors.
This unique and memorable immersive experience is available from Tuesday-Sunday, with Tours at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm each day. Be sure to check our booking website for current availability. Bookings are recommended.
New at the Hobart Convict Penitentiary
Hobart Convict Penitentiary Ghost Tour
Come tour the Hobart Convict Penitentiary after dark and hear the stories of those that experienced Heaven and Hell in the Chapel and the solitary cells beneath, those that were sentenced for their crimes in the court rooms, the lives that were ended at the Gallows, and the spirits that remain haunting every wall.
Hobart Gallows Walk
It’s not been long since Tasmania held it’s last hanging, but a lot has changed around the docks since the early days in the grimy, dangerous area of Wapping.
Now, for the first time, you have the chance to ‘take a walk in convict shoes’ from Wapping to the gallows.
Two of Hobart’s top-ten TripAdvisor rated tourism operators – The National Trust of Australia (Tasmania) and Hobart Walking Tours – have come together to offer this gritty new convict experience.