If you enjoyed reading Sara Dane and would like to know more about female convict life in Australia, there is no better place to visit than the The Cascades Female Factory in Tasmania.
The Cascades Female Factory is Australia’s most significant historic site associated with female convicts. It is located in the shadow of Mount Wellington, a short distance from Hobart’s city centre.
The Cascades Female Factory was a self-contained, purpose-built institution intended to reform female convicts. Inmates provided laundry and needlework services, offsetting some of the Colony’s penal costs.
Thousands of women and children were imprisoned here, and many never left. Visiting the site can be both emotional and rewarding, creating a connection with the stories of female convicts in Australia and their children – stories that are often tragic, but that also inspire hope and resilience.
From 1828 to 1856, the Cascades Female Factory operated as an institution intended to reform female convicts, some as young as 11. More than 5000 female convicts are known to have spent time here. Women were incarcerated here as punishment, to be reformed, or while waiting to be assigned. With staff, women and babies, up to 1000 people lived here at any one time.
The Cascades Female Factory was originally established on the site of a failed distillery that was adapted and gradually expanded to comprise five adjacent, rectangular walled yards. After 1856, the site was used for a variety of institutional purposes before being sold in 1904 and subdivided.
The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site is managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority.
For more information contact:
Cascades Female Factory Historic Site
16 Degraves Street, South Hobart,
Telephone +61 (0)3 6233 6656