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Convict chain gangs: In 1830 Port Arthur was a timber station, but hardly three years later, because it was hemmed in by the sea and access by land was solely through a tiny isthmus at Eaglehawk Nest, it became a prison settlement where the worst of the convicts were thrown, sentenced to work in chain gangs. Flogging became a way of life -- 100 lashes being the normal punishment for, for instance, attempts to escape the penal settlement. The prison closed in 1877, and in the next two decades the penitentiary and the church were gutted by fire.