The Macquarie Harbour Penal Station was a notorious British penal settlement established on Sarah Island in the southern portion of Macquarie Harbour in what was Van Diemen's Land in (Tasmania), Australia. The penal station was established as a place of banishment within the Australian colonies. It took the worst convicts and those who had escaped from other settlements. The isolated land was ideally suited for its purpose. It was separated from the mainland by treacherous seas, surrounded by a mountainous wilderness and was hundreds of miles away from the colony's other settled areas. The only seaward access was through a treacherous narrow channel known as Hell's Gates.