Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site (The Tench), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Situated on the corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets in Hobart, Tasmania, the Penitentiary Chapel was built in the early 1830’s according to the design of Irish born Colonial Architect and Civil Engineer John Lee Archer.

Originally designed as a Chapel for the growing male convict population in Hobart Town, there was also the inclusion of 36 solitary confinement punishment cells, unlit and poorly ventilated, constructed beneath the Chapel floor. The Chapel served the adjoining Prisoners Barracks or Penitentiary which later became the Hobart Gaol.

In late 1859 the Nave and Eastern Transept of the Chapel were converted into two Supreme Criminal Courts. The western transept remained to become a Gaol Chapel with an Execution Yard and Gallows attached.

The Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site remains a fascinating insight into Colonial Tasmania. A beautiful 1834 tower with the two Courtrooms remaining virtually unchanged for over 150 years.

The Gaol Chapel was restored to display John Lee Archer’s original design, but unfortunately in 2016 it has been desecrated by converting it into a picture theatre.

Visit Tasmania. Epic Tasmania Adventure Route © All Rights Reserved | Monika & Simon Newbound 2017

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