Macquarie Harbour, off the remote western
coast of Tasmania, Sarah Island was once a feared penal settlement, where
convicts laboured in rainforest, felling Huon pines under
In January 1822 a ship arrived in Macquarie Harbour with
14 convicts, 16 soldiers and their families. They
established a convict station on Sarah Island. Nearby
Grummet Island was used to separate the female convicts from
the male convicts, with the convicts living in cold, harsh
conditions. The island did not have a regular water supply,
with water being shipped 6 km from Phillips Island each day.
About 1826, the governor realised that Sarah Island was
unsatisfactory and by 1834 the settlement had been abandoned
and a new penal settlement had been established at Port
Arthur. Today, all that remains on Sarah Island are the
convict ruins, that reveal a chilling insight into the
cruelties of convict life.
Most visitors access the island on half-day or full
day cruises that depart from Strahan, which takes them through Macquarie Harbour
and time permitting, the Gordon River. In addition to our listed online
travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your
destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.