Port Arthur’s most prominent building has an interesting origin. When the penal colony was founded in 1830, it was expected to become self-sufficient. Its timbering was initially successful. Farming produced potatoes and cabbage but livestock were not added until the 1850s. A grand plan was devised in 1839 to build a flour mill and granary to help feed the growing prisoner population. Engineer Alexander Clark started the project in 1842. When the construction of this grandiose mill was complete in 1845, it was a disaster. Water needed to supply the grinding wheels and machinery could not be controlled. After nine years of frustration, the mill was abandoned and the building was repurposed as The Penitentiary.