The mysterious ruins in southwestern Norfolk Island are a scenic spot for contemplating the island’s history and the secrets that still puzzle archaeologists.
Discover the Arches, a heritage site that continues to intrigue Norfolk Island’s historians and archaeologists. Nestled into an old estate known as Longridge settlement on the southwest of the island, the Arches are a series of impressive brick structures built during Norfolk Island’s convict era. Stroll around the site to speculate about the settlement’s history and take in the scenic countryside.
Spot the intriguing structure from the road. As you approach on foot, the immense ruins will come fully into view. Wander into the grounds and inside the crumbling stone walls. You’ll see a series of arched doorways that rise high overhead. The Arches’ fine craftsmanship and enduring architecture have left few clues about the structure’s former purpose. Longridge was a convict settlement comprising of some 35 buildings, including prisoners’ barracks, stables, barns, a bakehouse and houses for the overseers and superintendents. The prison was known as Branka House and was comprised of three wings.
As you explore the ruins, imagine what it would have been like to live in the harsh conditions that the convicts faced. Convicts confined here worked the farm and provided food for the rest of the settlement. Some say the Arches are the ruins of the prisoners’ barracks, which were used to test new techniques in rehabilitation in the mid-1800s. Longridge was renowned for its formidable solitary confinement cells. Others believe the site was simply a stable for the settlement’s horses. Sit on the lawns in front of the beautiful old stone façade and ponder the mystery.
The Arches are a little off the tourist trail, but can easily be accessed from the road leading south into Bumbora Reserve. The site is located between the airport and Point Ross. There are no signs or information points at the Arches. Find out more about the site’s history at the museums in Kingston. The Arches are free to visit at any time. Add the Arches to your self-guided driving tour around Kingston, which is a 5-minute drive away.