Historic Tasmanian convict station seeks new operator

The property at 5862 Arthur Highway, Taranna has been advertised for expressions of interest with a price guide of $1 million.

A unique piece of history is up for grabs with a heritage-listed site that was key to Port Arthur’s penal settlement being offered for sale.

The Norfolk Bay Convict Station was built by convicts in the late 1830s, with the property receiving cargo and passengers brought by ship from Hobart and bound for nearby Port Arthur.

Ships would anchor in sheltered waters of Norfolk Bay, with cargo transported by rail for the eight-kilometre journey to the prison.

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It later become the local post office for the area, a bond store, the first inn on the Tasman Peninsula, and in recent times has been run as a bed and breakfast accommodation business.

The property, at 5862 Arthur Highway, Taranna, was put on the market this week for expressions of interest with a price guide of $1 million.

The Norfolk Bay Convict Station was built by convicts in the 1830s and received cargo and passengers brought by ship from Hobart and bound for Port Arthur.

The current owners, Lynton Brown and Lorella Matassini, are looking to retire after 15 years running the business.

Agent Phillip Wells, of Kate Storey Realty, says he has received about half a dozen inquiries about the property since the listing went live.

“With the changing nature of the Tasman Peninsula and the boom in tourism, there are all sorts of untapped opportunities for someone coming in with fresh eyes,” he says.

“Perhaps they could turn it into a cafe or restaurant.

The property features a commercial kitchen.

“It’s on the convict trail so potentially someone could try and do something more with that.”

Wells says there was also potential to run tours of the building.

“They could set each room up and tell the story, tell the history of the building,” he said.

“It could act almost like a museum.”

The property features two separate levels, including five guest bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, guests’ dining rooms, storerooms, and laundry.

The property is divided into separate guest areas and managers’ quarters.

The upstairs level currently serves as owner accommodation and consists of a bedroom, lounge area, kitchenette, bathroom with separate toilet and storage room.

It is located on the shores of Little Norfolk Bay with a large public jetty on the property’s doorstep.

Wells says the property is in close proximity to the Port Arthur Historic Site, Three Capes Walk and Pirates Bay.

The property is located just over an hour’s drive from Hobart.

A series of inspections are scheduled during the next month, the first being this Saturday from 1pm-1.45pm.

Expressions of interest close on November 21.

This article from The Mercury originally appeared as “Historic Norfolk Bay Convict Station on the market”.