Moving timber by water on Norfolk Bay.
North View of Eaglehawk Neck c1843
Convicts ploughing fields in the 19th Century.
This wooden convict built railway ran about 8 kilometres between the Norfolk Bay Convict Station in Taranna and Oakwood, just before Port Arthur. It carried passengers and goods between the two locations.
Norfolk Bay Convict Station was built in 1838 as Australia's first railway station. Ships bound for Port Arthur from Hobart faced a dangerous journey across Storm Bay and round Cape Raoul. It was much safer to stay in the sheltered waters of Norfolk Bay, unload at the Convict Station and then load goods and passengers into rail carts and transport them five miles (8kms) across land where they could be unloaded and rowed to Port Arthur.
The Port Arthur Historic site is a 10 minute drive away from the Norfolk Bay Convict Station. The carts were powered by men, convicts of course, who pushed the heavy carts up hill and rode down hill. It would have been a hard life but it was a sought after position - outdoors, away from the worst of the overseers, active (probably no worse than football training) and there was always the chance of a tip from a grateful passenger or some easy pickings.
After Port Arthur closed in 1877 the building became the first inn on the Peninsula and then, around 1900, it was converted into a guest house and local post office operated by the same family for over 40 years. Major renovations have taken place since 1990 and the house now has five comfortable guest bedrooms and cosy and inviting guest sitting and dining rooms.
History of the house