If ghosts exist then the Port Arthur Penitentiary on the Tasman Peninsula must surely be home to a few.
Those ruins, set among the heavily forested hills, will always have a cold beauty, informed by the convict past.
It is as picturesque a place as you could ever imagine now but it was hell on earth for convicts – the place where they got sent if they continued to misbehave once transported to Australia.
A more fitting venue for Tex Perkins’ Far From Folsom tour, where the Australian performer and his band belt out Johnny Cash covers, could not be found.
Johnny Cash, born 99 years after Port Arthur first began accepting convicts, would have identified with the downtrodden who walked its cells.
Born one of seven children in Arkansas, Cash identified with the battler: he said he wore the black for them.
When he pitched the idea of playing live to prisoners, his record label was not impressed but the resulting album became a chart topper.
Cash did not actually spend a lot of time in prison: a few nights here and there.
Once for smuggling a few hundred amphetamine tablets into the US from Mexico and another for taking a gun onto an airplane – but it was America.
He also spent a night in the drunk tank for smashing June Carter’s Cadillac, his nose and several teeth in a drink driving incident.
The stories of rebellion are all part of Perkins’ performance, right from the moment he bounded onto the stage and announced to applause, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” in a bass-baritone drawl.
His impression was spot on and set the tone perfectly for an evening of the man in black’s classic songs.
The open track is Cash’s most famous prison song, Folsom Prison Blues, describing an inmate listening to a train whistle going past the jail and wondering about the fancy people in the dining cars.
Convicts at Port Arthur might not have heard trains running by, but they must certainly have looked over the water and wondered what life they were missing out on beyond the hills.
Perkins continued the prison song themes, working his way through Busted, I Got Stripes, The Wall and hanging song 25 Minutes to Go.
He is joined onstage for Rachel Tidd, playing the role of June Carter Cash, for a rendition of one of the duo’s greatest hits, Jackson and a cover of Bob Dylan’s It Ain't Me, Babe.
Like Cash’s career, there are moments of humour during the show with Dirty Old Egg-Suckin' Dog and the rollicking Five Feet High and Rising before the mournful The Long Black Veil brings the mood back in line with the dreary weather.
But it is the hits I Walk the Line and Ring of Fire that truly make the night as hundreds of people huddled against the sideways rain sing along to the classics at the top of their voices.
When the concert finishes, the crowd disperses into the ruins. We walk up to the old church, its roof lost to history, a crescent moon hanging overhead in the darkening sky, leaving Cash and his ghosts behind.