Internationally-significant convict site in the heart of Hobart, which became the old gaol and supreme court.
In the early 1830’s, a service in the chapel of the Van Diemen’s Land Prisoners’ Barracks Penitentiary (shortened by inmates to ‘The Tench’) was far from a serene and holy experience.

The building, in the shape of a cruciform, was designed by John Lee Archer to make additional space for the growing number of convicts arriving in the colony. The design included thirty-six solitary confinement cells beneath the chapel floor, which were later declared inhuman.

When transportation ended, the site became Hobart Town Gaol for more than 100 years. Sections of the chapel were converted into two Supreme Courts connected by tunnels to the gaol, and an execution yard and gallows were added.


The Tench Day ToursTench day
Dates: Sat 29 Oct, Sun 30 Oct, Mon 31 Oct, Tues 1 Nov, wed 2 Nov, Thurs 3 Nov, Fri 4 Nov, Sat 5 Nov
Times: Mon – Fri, 10:00am – 11:30am AND 1:00pm – 2:30pm. Sat/Sun, 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Cost: $16.50 pp

This guided tour provides daytime access through the courts and tunnels to the chapel, cells and gallows of one of Australia’s most significant convict precincts.

Immerse yourself in an incredible place of Tasmanian criminal history, that’s only a short walk or Red Decker bus ride from Hobart CBD (Old Hobart Gaol stop).

The Tench, as it was known by its inhabitants, was the convict prisoners’ barracks for Hobart Town. It originally spanned over two acres, and some 50,000 male convicts passed through the complex. Following the cessation of convict transportation, the site became Hobart Gaol for more than 100 years. Sections of the chapel were converted into two Supreme Courts connected by tunnels to the gaol. An execution yard and gallows were added. This fascinating history can still be discovered in the buildings that remain – a captivating insight into over 175 years of Hobart’s shadier past.

The Tench Ghost ToursTench ghost
Dates: Mon 31 Oct, Thurs 3 Nov
Times: 9:00pm – 10:30pm
Cost: $27.50 pp

This guided ghost tour provides after-dark access through the courts and tunnels to the chapel, cells and gallows of one of Australia’s most significant convict sites.

Immerse yourself in a chilling place of Tasmanian criminal history, that’s only a short walk from Hobart CBD.

The Tench, as it was known by its inhabitants, was the convict prisoners’ barracks for Hobart Town. It originally spanned over two acres and some 50,000 male convicts passed through the complex. Following the cessation of convict transportation, the site became Hobart Gaol for more than 100 years. Sections of the chapel were converted into two Supreme Courts connected by tunnels to the gaol. An execution yard and gallows were added. This fascinating history can still be discovered in the buildings which remain – a captivating insight into over 175 years of Hobart’s shadier past.


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