Sunday, 6 December 2015

Catholic Chaplin's House, Port Arthur

This house was constructed in 1844, built for Father William Bond, the first Roman Catholic chaplain appointed to the settlement. By 1843, the Catholic prisoners had been agitating for their own pastor to be appointed and were refusing to attend the protestant services in the convict church. It was as a result of this that Father Bond was appointed.

A small room at the back of the house was designed to act as a private chapel for the chaplain to minister to his flock. The Catholic’s would sometimes use the church for their services but in later years, the Catholic Pastors would conduct their services in a makeshift Roman Catholic chapel on the second floor of the Penitentiary or Prisoners Barracks

The house was only small, only ever intended for a single man but a later priest, Father Fitzgerald lived here with his sister and her female servant. As a result, he wrote that he felt  “cribbed, cabined, confined or rather coffined” by his cramped accommodation.

The house survived the terrible bushfires of 1895 & 1897 which damaged so much of the settlement and by the early 20th century, it had become part of the “Hotel Arthur”. The building has been restored but is not open to the public at the moment. Still, it is a beautiful building, as are many of the buildings that make up the area of Port Arthur known as “Civil Officers Row”.

Main Text & Information Source – 
Interpretive Sign at the Site