Convict Site Reveals Hidden Treasures

We talked about the Kings Meadows Convict Station last year, so we were excited to read about another Tasmanian Site, the former Picton Road Convict Station, in an article for the abc. 

The Picton Road Station was operational between 1838 and 1847 while the highway between Hobart and Launceston was being built. 160 convicts were housed there in tiny cells, a discovery made during an excavation at the site over the summer. 

“The solitary cells themselves are brutal. They’re eight foot by four foot [2.4 metres by 1.2 metres]. They’re so small. It wouldn’t have been a comfortable experience.”

The excavation also uncovered tools, animal bones, tableware, ceramics and bottles of alcohol.

Alcohol Bottles at a Convict Site? 

Archaeologists were surprised to find so many beer and alcohol bottles, some imported from the Netherlands. Eleanor Casella, University of Tasmania Adjunct Professor said:

“It’s [alcohol] supposed to be heavily regulated in these kinds of punishment stations.” 

Artefacts and butchered animal bones have also given researchers a reasonable idea of what the convict’s diet was like. 

“It was pretty heavy on the meat, but because they were working on the road, breaking stones, they did need a reasonable diet.” 

There have already been two previous archaeological digs at the Picton Road Convict Station and another one is scheduled to take place next year so stay tuned!