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Eaglehawk Neck

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Eaglehawk Neck ~ Images of Australia
As visitors descend down the hills above Eaglehawk Neck, you can stop at the viewing points beside the road and take in the dramatic views across Eaglehawk and east across Pirate's Bays. It is here that you can see what an effective location was selected for the prison at Port Arthur.

This narrow strip of land, which is less than 100 m wide, has Pirate's Bay to the east and Norfolk Bay to the west, joining the Tasman Peninsula to Forestier Peninsula.

It is here that a military guard and a line of dogs kept constant watch for possible escape convicts. The dogs were chained close together, with some being placed on pontoons that were built in the water. Vicious as they, they were mainly used to raise the alarm when they heard anything.

Martin Cash was one prisoner who managed to escape past Eaglehawk Neck twice. On the second occasion he escaped with two other prisoners, Lawrence Kavanagh and George Jones. They managed to bypass the line of dogs by swimming across Eaglehawk Bay at night. They were to remain at large for several months.

Today, the 'dog line' is marked by a bronze dog sculpture standing guard, a reminder of those earlier times in the Peninsula's history.

Eaglehawk Neck - Snapshots from Australia

Eaglehawk Neck is a tie bar made of sand carried by currents and ocean waves from the floor bed of Pirate's Bay to the east and Norfolk Bay to the west. It joins the Tasman Peninsula where Port Arthur is located, to Forestier Peninsula, in a narrow strip of land which is less than 100 m wide. It is here that visitors can see a sombre reminder of the Peninsula's history in the bronze dog sculpture, that mark the spot where chained attack dogs were once stationed to prevent convicts escaping from Port Arthur and gaining access to the Forestier Peninsula and possible freedom.

Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania, Australia.

At Eaglehawk Neck... A line of eighteen dogs also extend across the narrow isthmus, who, constantly being kept separate, are most ferocious...

In 1831 a Military Station was established at Eaglehawk Neck, to keep a watch for convicts escaping from Port Arthur. The dogline was set up the following year, and dogs were also place on platforms out in the water to prevent escapes by sea. The number of dogs was increased after the probation stations opened on the peninsula in the 1840s.

Constables replaced the military in 1863. After Port Arthur closed in 1877, the station was closed and the land sold to private settlers.
"These out of the way pretenders to dogship were actually rationed and borne in the government's books and rejoiced in such soubriquets as Caesar, Pompey, Ajax, Achilles, Ugly Mug, Jowler, Tear'em, Muzzle'em... There were the black, the white, the brindle, the grey and the grisly, the rough and the smooth, the crop-eared and lop-eared, the gaunt and the grim. Every four-footed black-ganged individual among them would have taken first prize in his own class for ugliness and ferocity at any show." - Harden S. Melville, 1837

Sculptors: Ruth Waterhouse and Curtis Hore 1999
Source: Onsite information board

At Eaglehawk Neck a bronze dog sculpture keeps guard for escaping convicts.

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