Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site is situated at Eaglehawk Neck, a beachside community 76 kilometres southeast of Hobart. It once served as a border and played an important role in keeping convicts who were incarcerated in nearby Port Arthur from escaping. Today, Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site tours give visitors a fascinating insight into the Tasman Peninsula’s rich convict history.
The narrow isthmus at Eaglehawk Neck was heavily patrolled by guards who tethered a ‘dog line’ - ferocious dogs spaced at intervals - to alert the soldiers if anyone attempted to make a swim for freedom. A life-size bronze sculpture of one of these vicious dogs can be found at the site, along with the restored 1832 Officers Quarters, believed to be Australia’s oldest remaining military building.
Eaglehawk Neck, an isthmus less than 100 metres wide at one point, is a stretch of land connecting the Tasman Peninsula to the Forestier Peninsula. It was a determining factor in choosing nearby Port Arthur as a prison settlement and ensuring its security.
The Eaglehawk Neck station accommodated an officer and 25 soldiers. There was a storehouse, guardhouse, sentry boxes, barracks, semaphore station, and supplies jetty. The Officers' Quarters is all that remains. It has been partially restored and today serves as a museum and interpretive centre telling the history and stories of life at Eaglehawk Neck.
A bronze sculpture at the Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site serves as a stark reminder of the savage, snarling beasts that made up the dog line barricade. The area is also a popular place for visitors to see striking geological formations such as the Tessellated Pavement, Tasmans Arch, the Blowhole, and Devils Kitchen.
One of the stunning rock formations at Eaglehawk Neck is Tasmans Arch. This natural bridge, carved into the sea cliffs by the powerful Tasman Sea, was named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who played a major role in colonising Tasmania in the early 1800s.
Tasmans Arch can resemble a cave or tunnel, carved out over thousands of years by the pounding waves. You can view this magnificent natural structure from an observation platform offering spectacular views of the coastline.
Devils Kitchen, just 150 metres away is a rugged, 60-metre-deep cleft that takes its name from the likeness to a cauldron formed by the Great Southern Ocean swells crashing and swirling around the base of its cliffs. What started as a cave, has been eroded over thousands of years to create a stunning formation of dramatic beauty.
Both Tasmans Arch and Devils Kitchen are well worth a look when visiting nearby Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site.
Eaglehawk Neck is a small seaside community in southeast Tasmania, approximately an hour from Hobart.
The name Eaglehawk Neck comes from the Eaglehawks which inhabit the area, and the geographical feature of the narrow strip of land known as 'a neck.'
The area is known by the local First Nation people as Terra Linna.
The infamous ‘Dog Line’ stretched from Pirates Bay across the isthmus and deep into Eaglehawk Bay.
This imposing beast can be found along a winding path near the local Community Hall.
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