The Tench

Internationally-significant convict site in the heart of Hobart, which became the old gaol and supreme court.

In the early 1830’s, a service in the chapel of the Van Diemen’s Land Prisoners’ Barracks Penitentiary (shortened by inmates to ‘The Tench’) 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.

When transportation ended, the site became Hobart Town Gaol for more than 100 years. Sections of the chapel were converted into two Supreme Courts connected by tunnels to the gaol, and an execution yard and gallows were added.

Over 50,000 convicts passed through The Tench and their stories are told through the various guided tours and experiences available today.

This incredible site is also available for private bookings, school tours and conference cocktails (see below for details).



6 Brisbane St / Crn Brisbane & Campbell
Hobart 7000 TAS


Access by Guided Tours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00, 11:30, 1:00, 2:30
Saturday, Sunday: 1.00, 2.30
Closed Wednesdays.
Please note that while we try to avoid this at all costs, as we rely on our excellent volunteers for all of our guided tours, sometimes we may have to close unexpectedly due to staffing availability.
These closures will always be reflected on our online booking website, and will always be posted on our front door.


Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Anzac Day and Good Friday

(03) 6231 0911
Entry Fees:

General admission:
Adult $15
Concession $12
Child $10

What we offer:

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

Trip Advisor 2015 Travellers' Choice - Top 10 landmarks in Australia

Call to action section

Tour Info & Bookings

From day tours and ghost nights, to convict courtroom dramas and more.

New for 2016 - 'Pandemonium' multi-media experience

Find out more & book!

Related content section

Schools Program

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

Find out more

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 Tench

'Convict Cocktails'

Just a few minutes’ walk from Hobart’s main hotels, The Tench offers an authentic and completely original venue for a conference event.

There are two large courtrooms (65 to 130 pax), unique outdoor spaces for a marquee (150 pax), and a chapel that seats 60 and from 2016 offers the phantasmagorical 'Pandemonium' multi-media convict experience (approx 25 minutes).

Find out more

Related content