When you think of a prison, you probably don't envision anything you'd want to model your home after. Prisons, after all, are meant to be harsh, rigid and generally, unpleasant places to be.
We at BauMart Natural Stone, however, have a different opinion. That's because prisons also need to be secure and durable – impermeable to weathering and damage. In our opinion, if you want to make sure your home looks great for years to come, you might want to think about using the same materials used to build penitentiaries, particularly two of Australia's most famous sites: Port Arthur and Fremantle Prison.
You might want to think about using the same materials used to build penitentiaries…
Tasmania's most popular tourist attraction, Port Arthur is a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognised for its architectural beauty and excellent preservation.
Port Arthur was home to some of the the most dangerous British criminals sent over to carry out their sentences Down Under. The site is surrounded by water, and stories of sharks certainly bolstered the prison's reputation for being 'inescapable'. It also helped, however, that the prison was built of sandstone.
When you visit Port Arthur today, you'll see many sandstone structures that look similar to how they did when the prison operated in the 19th century. These were built by adult and juvenile convicts who were forced to do hard manual labour. One such edifice includes a stunning, gothic church that prisoners were forced to attend each week.
Even after hundreds of years, the natural stone buildings at the prison site remain intact and are beautifully presented. That's because sandstone is durable, resistant to weathering, and easy to maintain. In order to remove moss and ivy, historians simply needed to scrape away the growth and gently clean the stone's surface.
For the same reasons, sandstone is an excellent choice for exterior applications in your own garden, particularly in areas where things might tend to get a bit overgrown. A natural material, sandstone looks great surrounded by lush, green plant life, by the pool or surrounding a backyard billabong.
In Western Australia, Fremantle Prison hosts hundreds of visitors each day. Guests pore through the prison gates to have a look at what life was like for British and local criminals sentenced here during the 19th century.
Fremantle Prison – which was first called the Convict Establishment or simply the Establishment – was known for its harsh conditions and extremely strict lifestyle. When many Australians begin to question the treatment of prisoners, hundreds of testimonies were heard from Fremantle Prison witnesses who described the unbearable nature of life at the site.
The prison was built by convict labour, and designers were wise to construct it from limestone. If you've visited Fremantle Prison, you know the attraction doesn't just consist of cell blocks either. This UNESCO world heritage site also features cottages, two chapels and a hospital – all built of sturdy limestone.
Because limestone was a readily available and easy stone to work with, it became the prison designers' preferred building material. Soldiers and guards at the prison taught the convicts to mould the stone, and the prison was slowly built, block by block.
Natural stones like limestone are such excellent building materials because they have the unique ability to be hard and impermeable, yet easy to carve, shape, and mould. Limestone is also incredibly versatile, hence why it was used in a number of interior and exterior applications at the Fremantle Prison site.
In your own home or garden, limestone can also be used just about anywhere, including:
- Swimming pools
- Stepping stones
At BauMart, we import top quality limestone from Indonesia, and the stone we offer is available in a number of different colours and finishes.
Your home may not be a UNESCO world heritage site – and we hope it's not a high-security prison – but when you plan your renovations you should still make sure to select materials that will look good for years to come.
To find out more about importing materials from BauMart Natural Stone, contact our team today. We're happy to help you plan your next project and ensure that you have the perfect materials for the job.