Sarah Island via Strahan


Sarah Island lies in the remote reaches of Macquarie Harbour, on Tasmania's west coast.

In 1822, this six-hectare (15-acre) island became Tasmania's first penal station, and arguably the most brutal of penal stations. 

Its convicts laboured under the harshest conditions in nearby rainforest felling Huon pines for boat building. Of all the sites that might have been chosen, Macquarie Harbour would have been the most windswept and barren, but it was also the most secure.

For the bedeviled souls that found themselves imprisoned there, Sarah Island on Van Diemen Land’s wild west coast operated for a relatively short time.

Nevertheless from 1822 to 1833, it was the largest shipbuilding operation in Australia. Escape was all but impossible. Malnutrition, disease and death were rampant.

Today it can be visited only as part of one of the two Gordon River Cruise trips that run daily from Strahan.