Page:The Boy Travellers in Australasia.djvu/526
THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN AUSTRALASIA.
thousands of convicts were once confined under the most rigorous discipline, the least infraction of the rules being punished with the lash, and
ONE OF THE WATCH-DOGS. serious ones by death through hanging.
The story is that the latter punishment was so frequent that the jail chaplain at Hobart once made a protest, not against hanging in general or the number of men hanged, but at the pressure upon their facilities. He said that no more than thirteen men could be comfortably executed at once, and the crowding had been too great; he trusted that for the future the accommodations of the jail might not be overtaxed.
Our friends saw the prisons at Port Arthur, but the prisoners have been gone since 1876. The massive buildings remain without tenants, and are going to decay as fast as solid stone structures can go. Frank
"LAND, HO!"and Fred were specially interested in "The Neck," the narrow isthmus which connects the main-land with the peninsula, where the prisons stand. Across The Neck savage dogs were formerly chained at such close intervals that a man could not pass between them; the isthmus is not more than a hundred feet in width, and as there were fifteen dogs kept there, a man had no chance of passing them. If he attempted to swim around them at night, the dogs were expected to give warning by barking; and the waters are so infested with sharks that a person swimming has little chance of getting away with his life.