Unshackled: Hobart Penitentiary



Unshackled at the Hobart Penitentiary offers four experiences for one ticket price:

·  Convict Memorial: a digital history experience allowing visitors to trace the lives of each of the 75,000 convicts transported to Tasmania 1803-1853

·  Pandemonium: a dynamic widescreen presentation of Tasmania’s convict years 1803-1853, shown in the prison chapel

·  Rogues’ Gallery: a series of portraits of colourful convict characters

·  Site Tour: a guided tour of one of Australia’s richest convict sites, wrought by convict labour for convicts, moving through courtrooms, subterranean tunnels, cells, the gallows and the prison exercise yard.

The Hobart Penitentiary began in 1821 as the Hobart Prison Barracks, built as accommodation for convicts employed in Government public works. In 1834 the surviving Penitentiary Chapel was completed.

75,000 convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land between 1803 and 1853. Of these 62,500 were male convicts. After 1821 all male convicts were processed here before being given labour assignments across the island.

In 1857, 1860 convicts still under sentence were employed in converting two wings of the former Penitentiary Chapel as courtrooms. One wing remained as the prison chapel for the Penitentiary, then known as the Hobart Gaol. The Hobart Town gallows were relocated to the site with thirty-two people executed at the site 1857-1946. Some 300 to 400 men had been executed at the gallows on their original site in central Hobart. The Gaol was demolished in 1963 while the courts remained at the site until 1983.

For information about Ghost Tours and Paranormal Investigations please visit our Tour Info & Bookings link.



“Australian history… is full of surprises, and adventures, and incongruities and contradictions, and incredibilities; but they are all true! They all happened.”

– Mark Twain, 1895

Plan your Visit

Unshackled: Hobart Penitentiary


6 Brisbane Street, Hobart, corner of Campbell Street opposite Officeworks. A short walk from CBD, located opposite Red Decker bus stop.


Guided Site Tours: Wednesday - Sunday, 10am, 11.30am, 1pm & 2.30pm.

Please note that Sunday the 30th of June 2024 only the 10am tour is available.

Open some additional days when cruise ships are in port - please check availability on our Tour Info & Bookings link below.

Due to small tour group sizes - Bookings are strongly recommended using the Tour Info & Bookings link below.


Special Closures: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day & Good Friday

Closed Monday and Tuesday

For general enquiries (03) 6231 0911
Entry Fees:

Guided Site Tours: Adults $35 | Concession $30 | Children aged 7-16 $20 | Family $90 (2 adults+3 children) | National Trust Members and children 6 and under FREE

For Ghost Tours and Paranormal Investigation fees and info please visit our Tour Info & Bookings link below.

What we offer:

Nearby attractions: Hobart CBD, Cascades Female Factory, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Narryna – the Merchant’s House and the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts.

"Fantastic guides with loads of historical information. You cannot imagine what lies within this building."

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Tour Info & Bookings

Ghost Tours, and the world-class multi-sensory film experience guided tour 'Pandemonium'!

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Schools Program

Exclusive one hour guided tours are available for students from Grade 3 - 12 through the courtrooms, tunnels, chapel, cells and gallows (optional).

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Venue Hire

“Whitelion’s signature event the Bail Out has been held at the Tench for three years running. The Tench is a venue with a difference and comes highly recommended, with outstanding staff and volunteers assisting with all our needs. If you are looking for a unique venue, the Tench is the place to be!”

Barb Walters – Assistant State Manager, Whitelion

View 'Bail Out' in action at the Hobart Convict Penitentiary

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