THE PLACE AND THE SYSTEM
The Parramatta Convict Female Factory we see today is the earliest convict women’s site in Australia still in existence. It was a Francis Greenway designed Governor Macquarie initiative and a model for other convict female factories – there were 13 factories all together. It was a hospital, place of assignment to service the NSW colony, a location to request a wife, a place of secondary punishment and a factory producing colonial cloth. Of the 24,960 transported women an estimated 9,000 went through the factory system of which approximately 5,000 went through the Parramatta Female Factory If this number is multiplied by the generations and number of children, this means that a significant number of Australians are related to the convict female factory women.
WHY IS THE FACTORY STORY IMPORTANT?
Their contribution to the Australian character makes them a part of the identity of all Australians -a significant Australian story. This site was built by convict men, for convict women and the children who were with them. It is a story of families. It is the site of possibly the first female workers riot in Australia (1827) and one of the earliest factories in the Colony. A typical year – 1842 – had 1,200 women and over 200 children residing in the factory. These women brought over 180 trades with them and became the business women, farmers, workers, teachers and mothers of our nation.
WHY IS THIS SITE SO IMPORTANT?
This is the earliest surviving female convict site in Australia and a model or the other 12 sites.Given that there are only two identified images in national collections of these women during transportation and few objects provenanced to these women directly the site is critical to understanding the experience of these women. The Parramatta Convict Female Factory includes the third class sleeping quarters and turnkey’s apartment, two Francis Greenway buildings, 1818 walls and Governor Gipps Courtyard. It tells the story of the early Colonial men, women, and children as well as the social and built heritage.
This factory predates all but three of the UNESCO world heritage listed items.
For more history information follow these links:
For history: Parramatta Female Factories
For a list of female factory women:
Please note the content of the list is covered by copyright – Anne Mathews and Beth Matthews
Parramatta Female Factory for all Australians.