This chapel, nicknamed "The Trench", designated for male convicts in Hobart Town was a less than holy place. With poor ventilation, 36 solitary confinement rooms and separate punishment chambers hidden beneath the chapel floor, it was truly a spot for torture and despair. The dark cells, referred to as “dust holes” were deemed inhumane and closed in 1849, but visitors can still catch a glimpse of the horrid conditions on a Penitentiary tour, where guides remind guests about the terrible sounds that could be heard coming from convicts chained beneath the floors.
The grounds include a prison yard, barracks, punishment chambers and an execution yard, as well as the chapel, which was partially transformed into courtrooms in 1859. Visitors who opt for the ghost tour can wander the tunnels and gallows by lamplight while hearing stories of the more than 30 individuals who were executed here.
The Penitentiary Chapel is located at the corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets. Guided tours take place Sunday through Friday at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday tours take place at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. only. Adult admission is $12 and a family pass is available for $25. Discounts are available for pre-bookings. Ghost tours take place on Monday and Friday nights only.