(circa 1842) - Norfolk Bay Convict
Tiny township on the road to Port Arthur
Located 89 km south east of Hobart on the Arthur
Highway, Taranna is a tiny, and rather sleepy,
little settlement on the road to Port Arthur.
Taranna's one claim to historical importance
is that it was the terminus for the dreaded
human railway which ran from Port Arthur to the
jetty at Little Norfolk Bay. This railway line
was designed to carry passengers and supplies
from the security of Norfolk Bay across the
narrow isthmus to Port Arthur and Long Bay. The
aim was to avoid the rough seas which
characterised journeys from Hobart Town to Port
Arthur which were forced to round Cape Raoul.
The railway has the dubious distinction of being
the first railway in Australia. The technique
used was to get four convicts to push the
carriages along the 7 km line.
Things to see:
Old Convict Railway
Today there is little evidence of the old
convict railway. The closest you can get to it
is to go to the Tasmanian Devil Park (one of the
town's more recent attractions) and the
employees will point out a mound on the far side
of the road which is a remnant of where the
railway once ran.
The town has a couple of interesting buildings.
Tasman's Inn (circa 1842), sometimes known as
Tasman's Lodge or the Norfolk Bay Convict
Station is a green and white building on a side
road which was built by convicts out of bricks
which were brought to Taranna from Port Arthur.
It has changed use numerous times since its
construction. Originally the Commissariat Store
it was built to hold stores which were landed at
Taranna jetty and pushed along the railway to
Long Bay. When Port Arthur closed down in 1877
the store became the Tasman Hotel (the only
hotel on Tasman Peninsula). In 1913 it was
turned into Taranna Lodge, a guest house. At
this time it was also the local Post Office. It
closed down but there are plans to refurbish
this historic old building and open it up to the
public once again.