Tasmania's convict history tells a tale of crime, punishment, hardship and survival in some of the harshest, yet most beautiful places on earth. Over 70,000 men, women and children were transported from their home to Van Diemens Land in the early 1800s and many of the places and features built during that time are still standing today.
There are reminders of Australia's convict past no matter where you go, making Tasmania the perfect place to learn about Australia's early history and get to experience it first-hand. In fact, five of Australia's eleven UNESCO World Heritage listed convict sites can be found in Tasmania.
The Port Arthur Historic Site is Australia's most famous penal settlement, built on picturesque Mason Cove and surrounded by dense forest while the nearby Coal Mines Historic Site was Tasmania's first mine, operated by over 500 convicts. Today, mining ruins and relics can be explored among the surrounding bushland.
In Hobart, the Cascades Female Factory tells the stories of the thousands of female convicts transport to Tasmania, and on Maria Island off Tasmania's east coast, Darlington Probation Station consists of buildings dating back as far as the 1820s set in a beautiful natural environment.
And in the north, the stately Brickendon and Woolmers Estates are extraordinary testaments to the hard work of convicts assigned to private landowners.
Other convict highlights around the state include Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour, the convict built bridge in Richmond and the recently constructed memorial convict trail in Campbell Town.
As well as these, there are lots more convict sites across the state, including roads, bridges and buildings – in fact, a visit to just about any early town will reveal the hard labour and skilled craftsmanship of Tasmania's convicts.
With Tasmania's convict sites offering some of the best-kept records of convict history anywhere in the world, what better place to trace your own convict genealogy?