Offering a fascinating insight into Colonial Tasmania, this historic site retains a beautiful 1834 tower with two courtrooms virtually unchanged for more than 150 years and the Hobart Gaol chapel restored to architect John Lee Archer’s original 1830s design. The Penitentiary Chapel was the house of worship for the Hobart Gaol, which occupied this site until the 1960s, when Risdon Prison opened. Beneath the chapel’s floor are 36 unlit and poorly ventilated solitary confinement cells. Pure punishment. In 1859, the nave and eastern transept of the chapel were converted into two Supreme Criminal Courts, which remained in operation until the new Supreme Court at Salamanca opened in the late 1970s. The western transept remained to become a gaol chapel with an execution yard and gallows attached, the site of 32 executions between 1857 and 1946. Today the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site remains a fascinating insight into Colonial Tasmania.


Address: Cnr Brisbane & Campbell Sts, Hobart

Open: Pre-booked tours only, Saturday 5 November

Highlights: Underground tunnels, solitary confinement cells and gallows

Tours: Pre-booked tours only at 11am & 1pm

Building specs: Type: Church and gaol, Built: 1834–59, Architect: John Lee Archer