Monday, 17 August 2015

Government Cottage, Port Arthur

This delightfully situated cottage overlooks the Government gardens and was no doubt placed in that location to impress those who it accommodated. It had been built in 1854 to accommodate the Comptroller General (The Head of the Convict Department) when he visited. It was also used to house important visitors to the settlement. These visitors had previously stayed at the settlement Commandant’s own house.

Although it was lived in by several officers for short periods, it appears that it was never really used as a permanent residence. From its earliest days it was surrounded by elms, oaks, ash trees, roses and the beautiful gardens where the officers wives and children used to walk away from the prying eyes of the convicts.

Following the closure of the penal settlement, the cottage was sold but unfortunately it was burnt down in the fires of 1895 which devastated much of the settlement.

The cottage remained in ruins and the ruins have now been preserved and set up with interpretive signs and walkways to allow the visitor to walk through the preserved ruins and get a feel for what the cottage would have been like in its heyday.

Main Text & Information Source – 
Interpretive Signs at the site

Historic Photos – 


  1. Thank you. I have wandered through the ruins and appreciated the interpretive signs, but the property still feels bleak and a bit tragic. Only the trees and gardens still told the story of where the officers' families could enjoy themselves in peace.

    When was your first photo of the Government Cottage photographed? It must have been a lovely place, not huge and ostentatious

    1. Hi Hels,
      Thanks for your comments. The photo source (via the second link) indicates that the photo you enquired about was taken in 1873 by Samuel Clifford.