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Sarah Island

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Sarah Island - Cities, Towns and Localities

"In the year 1822 A Penal Settlement was formed on the N.W. Coast of Van Diemans Land for men convicted a Second time in the Colony. Macquarie harbour is 37 miles Long and from 5 to 9 Broad. The Settlement is upon an Island about 2 mile in Circumference, and 25 miles from the heads or Entrance. One mile from it is Small Island which is a perpendicular Rock fifty feet above the level of the sea about 40 years Long and 8 Wide - rude stairs cut in cliffs is the only Road to a Truly wretched Barracks Built with Boards and Shingles into which 70 men were often confined in too Crowded a state as to scarcely able to lay down on their sides - to lay on the Back was out of the Question."

Sourced: "Memoranda by Convict Davis" (probably Thomas Brain or Bryan), Norfolk Island 1843


Sheltered in 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 extremes conditions.

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.

Information Centre

Strahan Visitor Centre

Sarah Island Distance

Distance to Sarah Island
• To view the distances from your location to Sarah Island you can purchase a variety of maps, some being available from local visitors centres, newsagents and service stations. The Australian Automotive Motoring Associations also offer select access to travel trip planners. A variety of maps can be viewed online.

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Sarah Island Maps
Google Maps - Sarah Island, Tasmania


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