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Local history

Early settler's wash house and aboriginal display from the Tasman Historical Museum

Early settler and indigenous history

The history of the Tasman Peninsula starts here at the Tasman Historical Museum & Coffee Shop.

It also starts with the first custodians of the land, the Parrdarrama Pungenna people, and through the display created by our local aboriginal community in the Museum, you'll get a glimpse of life before European settlement.

Our interactive displays show how the early settlers lived and worked with items collected over many years by your hosts Marje and Colin. From horse-drawn carriages to baby carriages, from blacksmith's forge to captain's cabin and dairy to carpenter's workshop, you'll find yourself back in time to when life settling into a new land was hard work for all.

We look forward to welcoming you through the iron gates to step back in history at the Tasman Historical Museum & Coffee Shop.

Port Arthur Historic Site

Convict history

Tasmania's convict history has been globally recognised with five sites being included in the World Heritage register, joining six other sites in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Western Australia as part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.

Port Arthur Historic Site - World Heritage: this iconic site has over 30 buildings, ruins and restored period houses to explore. The buildings and landscapes were all created through the backbreaking work and in many cases, skills, of convict labour. Every building, every feature holds many stories to tell and through guided tours and cruises the history will come alive.

So take your walking shoes and camera and be prepared to hear of villains and heroes, ordinary people in an extraordinary place and perhaps even encounter a spirit of the past on a ghost tour! Check the Port Arthur website here for more details.

Note: there is a site entry fee for Port Arthur.

Saltwater River Coal Mines: by the 1840s nearly 600 prisoners, officers and their families lived and worked at the mines. Their houses and cells, along with mining features, now lie amongst a regenerated bushland setting with birdsong, wildlife and lovely water views. 

Entry: is free and the site is self-guided. Find out more and download the visitor site guide here

Eaglehawk Neck: this tiny 30 metre wide isthmus and its infamous Dog Line was the key to containing convicts on the Tasman Peninsula.

Convict bonnet and the story of Adamsfield from the local history display at the Tasman Historical Museum.

Tasmanian history links

If you love history, it's not just confined to the Tasman Peninsula as there are small museums and collections dotted around the state. We're always happy to talk history so please ask if you would like to know more about our local and state history.