Sunday, 17 July 2016

Visiting Magistrates House, Port Arthur

This house was built in 1847 and was considered one of the best houses at Port Arthur. It was originally constructed for the visiting magistrate at a cost of over 88 pounds and is the largest of the houses that make up Civil Officer’s Row. During the time when former commandant W.T.N Champ was “out of favour” and had become the visiting magistrate, this house was occupied by Superintendant Courtney whiles Champ remained in the Commandants residence.

By 1848 it was being used by the Deputy Superintendant but later that same year, the accommodation was reorganized and this house was allocated to the Senior Medical Officer and became his residence.

After the closure of the Port Arthur settlement, the house was sold and then leased and run as “Clougha” private hotel. It advertised gardens, orchards, boating, shooting and stated that the “Cuisine Department” is excellent and the sanitary arrangements are of the most perfect description".

The house barely escaped the 1895 bushfire and continued to welcome guests until the late 1940s, when it was obtained by the Tasmanian Government. In subsequent years it was used as office space for the various authorities managing the site.

The house has been fully restored and furnished and is available to hire for small functions and as a meeting space.

Main Text & Information Sources – 
Interpretive Sign at the Site
“Port Arthur – Convicts & Commandants” – Walter.B.Pridmore
Port Arthur Official Website - Visiting Magistrates House