Sunday 10 November 2019
We had some time before our next tour, so we stopped at the old Penitentiary Chapel on the corner of Campbell and Brisbane Streets. I did a tour there back in 2013, and, if you recall my post about the Supreme Court, you might remember that this complex, which was previously a prison and has mostly been demolished, housed the criminal division of the Supreme Court from 1860 until 1975, when the new court was opened.
The chapel was designed by John Lee Archer, who was responsible for many Tasmanian Government buildings in the 19th Century, including Customs House, which is now Parliament House.
The solitary confinement cells underneath the pews in the chapel and the execution yard serve as a reminder of the brutal past of this place.
It’s not a comfortable feeling to be there. It feels incongruous that a place of worship could also be a place where humans were treated so inhumanely and, in some cases, executed. The chapel was never consecrated for exactly this reason.
I didn’t like being there and I’m glad we didn’t stay long.
After finding a lucky car spot in town (no, I’m not telling you where), we had a quick lunch stop and walked up to Murray Street to the former Hobart Savings Bank. This building is well-known in Hobart as the “red awnings” building and let’s not go there other than I thought the red awnings were great, and seriously, Hobart council, find something more important to focus your energy on.
At least sanity, eventually, prevailed and the red awnings returned.
The building was only open today and we thought we could go in there before our booked tour of the Treasury complex. Wrong! This is now a private home and the line to get in was back up to Macquarie Street and moving very slowly. Much as we wanted to go, we knew we wouldn’t have enough time to wait in line and get to our tour. So we went into the Treasury buildings that were open outside the tour instead.
to be continued . . .