Location: Tasmania, Australia
Notable Residents: n/a
Amenities: Conditions so bad, prisoners committed crimes just to be killed
This small town served as a penal colony from 1833 to 1853, where the hardest British and Irish convicts were sent after repeated offenses in Australia. Port Arthur was an example of the "Separate Prison Typology," a system based on the Panopticon where a watchman observes inmates, though the inmates are never sure when they're being observed. This system marked a shift from physical torment to psychological torment, which made Port Arthur a model for the penal reform movement, a flag it raised with pride.
Even though it's credited with creating the modern prison design, Port Arthur was just as brutal as other early penal settlements, if not more. According to stories, inmates would commit murder—which was punished by death—just to avoid the grim reality of spending life inside the prison. The dead were taken to the Island of the Dead, and though over 1,600 graves exist there, only 180 are marked. They belong to prison staff and military personnel.
Similar to Alcatraz, Port Arthur was lauded as an inescapable prison, but inmates still tried. Martin Cash, a convict with a history of famous escapes, managed to flee with two other men, and another inmate, George "Billy" Hunt, attempted to escape by disguising himself as a kangaroo. Though the prison closed in 1877, Port Arthur has been kept in good shape over the years.
In April of 1996, Martin Bryant went on a killing spree there, claiming 35 lives and injuring another 21 before being captured. This massacre led to shotguns and semi-automatic rifles being banned nationwide. Still, Port Arthur is one of Australia's most prized tourist attractions, and the government spends much money keeping it in great condition.