|List||National Heritage List|
|Legal Status||Listed place (01/08/2007)|
|Place File No||6/01/004/0038|
|Summary Statement of Significance|
Female Factory is highly significant for its association with convict women. †The number of women transported to Australia
is estimated at approximately 25 000 or between 15-17 per cent of the total
Despite being a small proportion, convict women made an important contribution to the development of the colonies in terms of their labour and their role in fostering social cohesion. They became street sellers, dressmakers, washerwomen. †They brewed, baked, ran public houses, engaged in trade and provided domestic services to private masters and government officials.
Convict women were also considered necessary to the stability of emerging societies. †The gender imbalance was seen by colonial authorities as an issue requiring remedying. †In Van Diemenís Land in the 1820s, the imbalance was acute and for this reason, large numbers of convict women were sent there.
Convict women were also the progenitors of the nation, accounting for some 80 percent of the children born in the colonies up to 1830.
Colonial authorities both depended on convict women for the establishment of family units and social cohesion and yet regarded them as a moral threat. †These conflicting views lead to a unique management response, one that reflects both moral and penal philosophies. †In order to isolate the influence of convict women and in turn train them to be more Ďresponsibleí workers, wives and mothers, the authorities established female factories. †The factories were multi-functional, operating as places of work, places of punishment, hiring depots and places of shelter for convict women between assignments and those who were sick, infirm or pregnant. †As colonial authorities became more systematic in their development of new free and penal settlements, female factories became regarded as necessary infrastructure. †The effective control and management of convict women became important for the overall success of the settlement.
The Cascades Female Factory is the only remaining female factory with extant remains which give a sense of what female factories were like. †It was the primary site for the reception and incarceration of most of the women convicts sent to Van Diemenís Land and operated between 1828-1856 (when transportation effectively ceased).
As a long running penal institution, Cascades Female Factory was subject to changing approaches to punishment and reform, and this is demonstrated in the addition of yards to the original precinct and in the functions of those yards. †The earliest yard housed convict women in barracks while in later yards, separate apartments were built. †Isolation from fellow inmates was at this time regarded as critical to penitence and reform. †Extensive archaeological remains and some stone footings are present on site and these have considerable potential to enhance our understanding of the living and working conditions of convict women incarcerated in female factories.
Cascades Female Factory was situated on damp ground and with overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate food and clothes, there was a high rate of disease and mortality among its inmates. †The death rate for the children in the factory was considerably higher than the general population. †The appalling living conditions and very high infant mortality marks Cascades Female Factory as a place of great suffering.
Cascades Female Factory has high social value. †It is the catalyst for research and enquiry into convict women and valued as part of the wider story of women in Australia.
The former Cascades Female Factory site comprising
five yards, cemetery and outbuildings is contained within a rectangular city
block in the district of South Hobart. The factory site itself is bounded by Syme Street
to the north, Degraves
Street to the south, Degraves Lane
to the east and McRobies Road to the
For the purposes of this nomination, the three yards may be described as being bound to the north by Syme Street, to the east by Degraves Lane and to the south by Degraves Street. The western boundary is demarcated by a private property (formerly yard 2) containing an Apostolic place of worship.
Cascades Female Factory is located within the suburban district of south Hobart, approximately three kilometres south west of the Hobart GPO. Topographically this area is part of the Hobart rivulet catchment which drains the eastern slopes of Mount Wellington. Cascades Female Factory consists of two and a half of the five secure yards that formerly comprised the main Female Factory complex; namely Yard 1, Yard 3 and Yard 4 south.
Yard 1 is the oldest of the separate walled enclosures to be erected at Cascades Female Factory, with parts first constructed as Lowes Distillery in 1824. Until the resident structures were demolished and the site cleared for public sale in 1904, Yard 1 contained the most extensive amount of infrastructure at the Female Factory, including a two storey building along the length of each main side wall (east and west) with rooms about 12 feet (3.66m) wide; a chapel; two storey staff quarters 60 by 17 feet (18.29 by 5.18m), the upstairs being for the superintendent’s family, the downstairs for offices and the gatekeeper; a courtyard divided into seven smaller yards, one for the entrance and offices, and one each for the nursery, hospital and kitchen; a yard for each classification of female convicts – first or assignable class, second class and third or crime class. Twelve solitary cells were also included in the north western corner building of the old distillery.
Today Yard 1 consists of the following elements associated with Cascades Female Factory:
* Approximately 90 per cent intact 1824 -1827 coursed sandstone rubble perimeter wall
* Re-opened doorway linking Yards 1 and 3
* Sub surface archaeological deposits. Archaeological test excavations (Kostoglou 2000) revealed substantial sandstone footings consistent with the 1827 ground plan designed by noted architect John Lee Archer. Kostoglou (2001, 2002) suggests the entire Archer ground plan of this yard survives intact at the footings level beneath almost a metre of demolition rubble.
Contemporary features in Yard 1 include:
* Concrete building slab in the north west corner formerly supporting a wine factory (1960s, demolished 1980s)
* Concertina style interpretation panels erected by the previous government land manager (DPIWE)
* Park benches
* Grassed area extending throughout 80 per cent of the yard.
Until the resident structures were demolished and the site cleared for public sale some time prior to 1904, Yard 3 contained the bulk of Cascades Female Factory cellular confinement infrastructure.
Today Yard 3 consists of the following elements associated with Cascades Female Factory:
* Approximately 40 per cent intact c1824-1827 coursed sandstone rubble perimeter wall on two sides (east and west) – the wall between Yard 3 and 4 was commissioned at a later date by John Franklin
* Re-opened doorway linking Yards 1 and 3
* Sub surface archaeological deposits. Excavations (Kostoglou 2001, 2002) revealed intact sandstone footings and sub floor cavities, relating to the solitary apartments and offices along the front (south) wall, beneath various layers of post demolition fill. Two sections of excavations have been left open for public viewing after being lined and roofed. It is also possible that the c1976 factory building erected in the centre of the yard may have been built on a sufficiently shallow cement slab to have allowed the survival of fabric beneath.
Contemporary features in Yard 3 include:
* The western half of the yard has been landscaped and planted out to create a ‘garden of remembrance’.
* A c1976 factory building in the centre of the yard (this building provides the Female Factory Historic Site Limited with administration and leased rental space).
Yard 4 south
Originally, a 160 by 26 feet (48.77 by 7.92m) nursery built of stone, brick and timber was placed along the western wall facing east. The yard also included the matron’s cottage, sub-matron’s cottage, large open shed, kitchen and laundry. The yard was surrounded by a stone perimeter wall (Rayner, 1981).
Today Yard 4 south consists of the following elements associated with Cascades Female Factory:
* The matron’s cottage (1849) situated in the south east corner is a single storey brick cottage with the original four rooms heated by two double fireplaces, and later 19th century additions including two rooms to the eastern elevation.
* Sandstone brick paved courtyard to the rear of the matron’s cottage.
* Approximately 25 per cent intact original coursed sandstone rubble perimeter wall.
* Open yard space and currently backfilled archaeological excavation. The excavation (Kostoglou, 2005) exposed robust sandstone footings and sub floor cavities relating to the sub-matron’s cottage, covered walkway, kitchen/laundry and nursery apartments. These features survive at depth in an excellent state of preservation beneath various layers of post demolition fill. Kostoglou (2006) suggests that the integrity of these deposits extends northwards throughout the remainder of Yard 4, despite its separate ownership and light industrial additions throughout the 20th century.
Contemporary features in Yard 4 south include:
* A paved courtyard situated immediately north of the matron’s cottage.
* Toilet addition to the rear of the matron’s cottage.
* Timber shed.
Matron’s cottage collection
Much of the matron’s cottage collection is privately owned or owned by other institutions and is on loan to Cascades Female Factory Ltd. There are approximately 450 items in the collection and it continues to grow. The scope of the collection covers the late convict period to the site’s closure in 1904. It includes convict relics, furniture, decorative arts, documents and photographs.
There are currently over 2 000 moveable artefacts comprising Cascades Female Factory Archaeological Collection. These are derived from all stages of European occupation of the site. The bulk of the items come from the mid to late convict period.
The Historical Overview is drawn from a number of sources including Shaw
(1966), Hirst (1983), Daniels (1998), Robinson (1993),
Raynor (2005), Scripps and Hudspeth
(1992) and Scripps (2000). The subsequent description of the historical
physical development of Yards 1, 2 and 3 at Cascades facility is mostly drawn
from various reports by Kostoglou (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006). |
The term ‘Female Factory’ applied to buildings managed by the colonial government where Australia’s convict women were sent awaiting assignment, and for reform and punishment. Australia is the only country in the world which administratively dealt with women convicts in this manner.
Australia is one of the few places where large numbers of women were transported as convicts. During the period of convict transportation, some 25 000 women were transported (Raynor 2005:p23) which represents about 15 to 17 per cent of the total convict population. Of these 12 500 were transported to Van Diemen’s Land and two thirds of these landed after transportation to NSW ceased in 1840, most were transported for petty theft (History of Tasmania, p131).
From the First Fleet, women convicts were assumed to be most useful as wives, mothers and domestic servants. The work required of them by either private master or the government was for domestic labour and they were assigned for this purpose. While there were individual men willing to take them, the colonial authorities did not need to make systematic arrangements for them nor provide opportunities for them to engage in public labour.† However, the numbers of female convicts began to increase. From 1793 to 1 800, only 1 234 male and 564 female convicts landed at Sydney. For the next six years 2 364 and 706 females disembarked (Shaw 1966, p70). Along with increased numbers, the colonial authorities were concerned about what to do with them and the moral threat they represented in society.† During this time, ‘official comment continued to centre on the uselessness of the labour of women convicts, their lack of economic value to NSW and their continual drain on the colonial expenditure. All complaints were supported directly or indirectly by the ‘evidence’ of their flagrant immorality’ (Robinson 1993, p221). In 1798, Governor Hunter attempted to regulate the labour of women assigned as domestic servants and Governor King established the first female factory in 1804 at Parramatta where women made rope, spun and carded wool and wove cloth (Parramatta cloth). The building consisted of a single long room with a fireplace at one end for the women to cook on but failed to contain sleeping quarters which meant that women sought shelter elsewhere. The Reverend Samuel Marsden saw the female factory as sanctioning prostitution and contributing to the crime rate and general depravity of the society in Parramatta. In response, the colonial authorities eventually built a new factory which ‘was a closed institution where women worked and slept and where they were kept from all outside influence and temptation’ (Hirst, 1983, p17). Work on the factory commenced in 1818 but was not completed until 1821 despite Governor Macquarie asserting that it was ‘particularly Necessary for keeping those Depraved Females at Work within Walls, so as in some Degree to be a Check upon their Immoralities and disorderly Vicious Habits’ (quoted in Shaw 1966, p101).
The authorities meant many things by immoralities and vicious habits. Convict women however played a significant role as mothers/procreators. MacNab and Ward found that in the first 30 years of the colony, ‘approximately 72.8 per cent of children were of convict-emancipist parentage compared to those children of one or more free (non-convicted) parents. Since many of the children ascribed the military establishment, civil officials and settlers were born of convict women, the proportion is probably closer to 80 per cent’ (MacNab and Ward, 1962: p298).
The first female factory was intended for women unfit for domestic service and women under punishment, however Governor King, in order to address claims of depravity and abandonment, insisted that female convicts on arrival to the colony be taken to the factory wherein the best behaved are selected and applied for by settlers and the ‘incorrigible’ left within the factory. This would set the multifunctional purpose of female factories throughout the colonies – operating as places of work, places of punishment, hiring depots and places of shelter for women between assignments, sick, infirm or pregnant. ‘The female factories had to be all things to all women who came under government control or judicial management …the female factories were expected to handle every other case calling for an institutional response for female convicts.’ (Raynor 2005: p133).
Although originally designed as manufactories to produce goods to assist the colonies (hence the name), the female factories became an all purpose institution for the management of convict women. There is no equivalent institution for convict men who could be housed in convict barracks, gangs, private quarters and later at probation stations and penitentiaries.
The female factory became an essential requirement of the development of new settlements. Over time, female factories were established at Parramatta, Newcastle, Hobart, George Town, Cascades, Moreton Bay, Port Macquarie, Bathurst, Launceston, Eagle Farm and Ross. In 1810, Surveyor-General John Oxley called for ‘a Well regulated Factory’ for Van Diemen’s Land because ‘It is well known that the greater part of the Women Convicts have from their Youth been brought up in every scum of wickedness, destitute of Industry, unable from Ignorance to work, even if they possessed the inclination to render themselves useful. It will be evident that the Task of reclaiming and bringing into habits of Industry such Characters will not be an easy one, and that it will not be aided or assisted in the smallest degree by the endeavours and disposition of Women themselves. To suffer such wretches to be let loose on society without any restraint would be a serious injury to the quiet and well disposed among them, and that any mode of employing them would be preferable to such an alternative’ (As quoted in Daniels1998, p108). After his appointment to Van Diemen’s Land in 1817, Governor Sorrell insisted on the establishment of a female factory before he would accept large numbers of convict women from NSW.
Punishment and Reform
The emphasis was on the reform of the female convict through work and constant supervision, ideas which were articulated by Elizabeth Fry when she wrote to the Under Secretary of the Colonies in 1823 requesting a separate institution for female convicts in Hobart Town, under the control and guidance of a respectable matron with part of the building set aside for schooling (Daniels, 1980, p110). The possibility of reformation meant that women could respectably rejoin society and this was important because in Van Diemen’s Land in the 1820s men outnumbered women by ten to one. This situation was felt by colonial authorities to require remedying. In 1827, Governor Arthur purchased the Cascade distillery and remodelled it for the reception and confinement of women. In 1828 it received approximately 100 women. It was located relatively remote from Hobart Town with a view to removing the convicts from the negative influences and temptations of the town and in turn to prevent the women from corrupting the morals of the town's men. However, its location in an area of damp swamp land contributed greatly to the sickliness and sufferings of its inhabitants.
At first Cascades Female Factory consisted of one large yard containing staff quarters, convict dormitories, the chapel, 12 solitary cells, nursery, hospital, kitchen, and separate areas for punishment class, crime class and hiring class. Later, it was incrementally expanded until it became five yards, with increasing specialisation between the yards.
Place of Suffering
Cascades Female Factory quickly became notorious for lack of industry, overcrowding, disease, high birth rate and high mortality. The number of female convicts in Van Diemen’s Land increased from 725 in 1828 to more than 1 600 in 1832 (Kippen, 2002: p 2). The majority of convict women arriving during this time would have passed through Cascades Female Factory either on the way to being assigned, as inmates serving their sentence, on return from assignment or when pregnancy prevented them working in domestic service. Colonial authorities did not respond to this influx by expanding or supplementing the existing facilities. Instead the government made it an offence to have an illegitimate child and their mothers were sent to crime class for six months once their children were weaned (and this was decreed to be at six months). The law did not prevent pregnancy but led to further overcrowding. With the appointment of Edward Bedford as the medical officer at Cascades Female Factory, the colonial authorities were left in no doubt of the appalling conditions with Bedford requesting both babies and children be removed to a Female Orphan School. Death rates were particularly high and coronial inquests brought the conditions to the attention of the public.
By 1838, there had been some 208 deaths of children within the factory out of the 794 admitted or born in the factory since its opening (Kippen (2002): p6). This death rate of over one in four was considerably higher that the general population and would continue throughout the entire period Cascade operated as a convict establishment. Operating from 1828 to 1855 (when transportation was deemed to cease in Van Diemen’s Land), the factory was one of the colony’s longest running convict establishments (noting that Port Arthur did not commence operating until 1831).
The inquests and bad publicity associated with deaths in the factory eventually led to the nursery being relocated at various sites including a house in Liverpool Street and Dynnyrne House. A purpose built nursery was built from 1850 in Yard 4. An inquiry into the Convict Department by the local legislature in 1855 heard evidence that the mortality in the nursery in Cascades in 1851, 1852 and 1853 was around four times higher than mortality of children of a similar age in the general Hobart District. Dr Edward Hall calculated that the death rates under the age of three were around 40 per cent (Kippen (2002): p8). The Committee found that the sickliness of the children and the very high mortality rates were due to reckless negligence on the part of the Convict Department – failing to provide adequate nourishment for nursing mothers, exposure to cold, and insufficient food and clothing. The Inquiry was highly embarrassing to the then Lieutenant Governor but at this time, the decision had been made to cease transportation and the shortcomings associated with Cascades Female Factory now became a matter for local authorities.
Place of Opportunity
While the Cascade Female Factory can be seen as a place of great suffering where mothers were separated from their children at an early age, where infant mortality was excessively high and where pregnancy was considered a crime, it must also be remembered that 1 000s of women passed through the factory and many were able to establish themselves in the colony through domestic service and marriage. The female factories, while providing constant supervision and restraint on behaviour, also provided female convicts with protection from abusive masters and shelter when sick, infirm or pregnant. They could own property, had a right to sue and could give evidence, rights that their counterparts in England, Scotland and Ireland did not possess (Kercher 2003, p6).
That there were many women who did pass out of the convict system is evidenced in the study by HS Payne of 7 000 female convicts who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land between 1843 to 1853. Payne found that over one third never served a sentence in a female factory (as quoted in Raynor 2005: p94).
Historians continue to debate whether female convicts had a better life than that of female prisoners in Britain, Scotland and Ireland, the evidence from places such as Cascades Female Factory is that there were benefits as well as costs. The reasons and conditions for the success and failure of individual convict women or groups of women remains for further study.
Cascades Female Factory
In October 1826 the government advertised for a building able to house 40-50 convict women. Thomas Lowes offered his distillery site and three acres of land for ₤2500. Eventually the distillery and its entire 20 acre allotment were purchased in exchange for ₤2000 and some other government land in Newton.
Plans for the modification of the distillery were initially drawn up by the Colonial Architect David Lambe. These were subsequently discarded when a new Colonial Architect, John Lee Archer, took up his post in 1827. The conversion works took a year, and cost ₤2 344. Archer’s design included the erection of two 12 foot (3.66m) wide two storey wings along the eastern and western sides of the yard, and a chapel between the central distillery building and the north wall. Other developments included a two storeyed staff quarters measuring 60x17 feet (18.29 by 5 18m) inside the main gate and a set of 12 solitary cells in the north western corner of the yard.
The newly completed Yard 1 of Cascades Female Factory accepted its first 100 women transferred in December 1828 from the dilapidated Factory attached to the Hobart Gaol. In January 1829, 100 women and 33 children arrived on foot at the Female Factory directly after being disembarked from the Harmony where they had spent four months on the voyage from the United Kingdom.
Always the administrative centre of Cascades Female Factory, Yard 1 was divided up into seven smaller walled spaces which initially represented the management of convict women in the same manner as the five larger yards did in 1852. On entering through the main door women and children were catalogued in the rigorous convict records system, their belongings were removed and government clothing was issued. They were then sent into a system of punishment, hard labour and religious instruction within the confined and gloomy spaces of the Factory until they were deemed suitable for release as assigned servants.
Three walled spaces within Yard 1 held women according to their classification into classes. There were strict rules controlling the lives of women in each class down to the labelling of the outside of their convict clothing to designate their class. The crime class included punishments such as a week in the dark cells on bread and water, in the solitary cells picking horse hair or at the wash tub doing hard labour.
Also within Yard 1 were two separate spaces for the Hospital and Nursery. The hospital was regularly overcrowded with both ill and confined women. Pregnant convicts moved from the hospital to the Nursery after giving birth. The Nursery within Yard 1 was replaced by the opening of Yard 4, known as the Nursery Yard, in 1850.
The last space within Yard 1 was the Kitchen. Across the back and in the centre of Yard 1 were store and work rooms and also in the centre was a Chapel. Under the Evangelical beliefs of Governor Arthur (1824 to 1836) the women were mustered daily for prayers and Bible reading in the hope that this would assist in their reform. Both Arthur and the colony’s senior chaplain, the Reverend Bedford, had a dim view of the character of convict women.
Yard 1 was soon condemned as too small despite attempts to rectify conditions by extra rations of soap and extra coats to the walls of whitewash which was considered a means of killing germs.
Yard 2 was opened in 1832 to provide structures in which the hard labour of the women could be performed and in which additional solitary cells could be constructed. It became known as the ‘Washing Yard’. Other labour in the Factory included carding, spinning and weaving of wool. Yard 2 included a walled area containing a two storey range of solitary working cells where women were employed in picking old rope encrusted with salt and tar, so that the fibres could be used in caulking ships. A hospital was added to the site in the 1840s, and in 1852, a large open washing shed was converted into a dormitory building.
1838 saw the replacement of the assignment system with the probation system in Van Diemen’s Land. Under this system, newly arrived women were employed for six months at sewing and spinning and were taught basic reading and writing. This was to assist in reforming their characters and to equip them for domestic service. When their six months probation period expired, prisoners with a record of good conduct were assigned to settlers. The female convicts’ conduct continued to be monitored after they were hired and misconduct could result in a sentence at the female factory, including a period in solitary confinement, an extension of the sentence or revocation of their pass.
Yard 3, constructed in 1845, was a gruesome testament to the Probation System. It contained 112 ‘separate apartments’ in two double storey cell blocks. They were designed for ‘separate treatment’ (a regime of moral and religious instruction, education and work).
Yards 1, 2 and 3 all contained small cells in which convict women were punished with solitary confinement. While male convicts were often punished with flogging, 19th century morality could not accept such punishment for women. In addition to solitary confinement other punishments for women included shaving or cutting of their hair; the wearing of heavy iron collars; and hard labour. However solitary confinement was seen as the greatest deterrent for repeat offenders. Yard 1 had the most gruesome ‘dark cells’ built into the corner of the old distillery with little ventilation.
When transportation of female convicts to NSW ceased in 1840, there was a substantial increase in the number of female convicts transported to Van Diemen's Land and to assist in their reform under the Probation System the Fourth Yard was constructed in 1850, and Yard 5 in 1852.
Yard 4 is representative of the tragic tale of convict women and their children. Local newspapers in 1838 carried heart wrenching stories on the conditions and fate awaiting children in Yard 1. In 1850 Yard 4 was opened as the specially designed Nursery Yard and contained a two storey building designed to house 88 women and 150 children with additional single storey buildings for kitchen, laundry, washrooms and privies. Mothers stayed with their babies here until they were weaned at between 3 and 9 months. The mothers were then returned to the other Yards of the Factory and the babies were cared for by other weaning mothers, in some cases occasionally visited by their birth mothers. They were then sentenced to six months in the Crime Class following the weaning of their babies. A high infant mortality resulted from the enforced early weaning and the unhygienic conditions at the Factory. Children who survived to 2 or 3 years of age were sent to the orphan schools in New Town on the other side of Hobart until they were claimed by their reformed mothers or were able to support themselves.
A wall separated the Matron’s cottage (built c.1849) and garden from the two storey Nursery and yard. It is the Matron’s cottage area which forms part of Cascades Female Factory Historic Site and also part of the National Heritage List nomination. The cottage is the sole remaining original building on the site of Cascades Female Factory. The Matron would have occupied three of the four rooms as a parlour, kitchen and bedroom. The Matron’s Cottage also acted as Factory gate lodge and included a room for ‘Messengers’ who were needed to communicate with other officials in the now extensive Factory Yards.
Yard 4 was not successful in lowering the rate of infant deaths - the system of handling convict women and especially infants in the Factory was open to abuse by officials and the entire Factory was sited and designed conducive to damp conditions including little access to sunlight. In 1851-1855 the annual age-specific mortality rates of children aged 0 to 3 years were 10 per cent for the Hobart district, and 30 per cent for the Female Factory children (Rayner, 2004, p157).
Yard 5 was built in 1852 as part of a final attempt to improve conditions for the female convicts. It housed women who were pass holders awaiting employment. A two storey barrack slept 212 women. It included modern ideas such as flushing water closets, the ground floor mess room also acting as a schoolroom at night, and a ‘macadamised’ surface to the yard which was superior for drainage and safety than stone flagging.
With the completion of Yard 5 the Factory became a full representation of the system of categorising and penalising convict women. Discipline and hard work were the key to their reform and a reward system for god-fearing behaviour and hard work was put into place. For example compulsory night time reading was used to suppress ordinary dialogue between the inmates. Task work included washing, needlework, and wool processing.
The women were under constant surveillance unless locked up in a solitary cell. In addition to the Superintendent and the Matron, each division or class was controlled by a male and female officer assisted by convict 'Watchwomen'. To assist surveillance in 1851 the new superintendent J. M. May made Yard 1 an open area with only the gate lodges and Chapel retained. With the relocation of the drying frames (which when hung with sheets allowed private space for the inmates) to a space outside the Factory, Yard 2 allowed “a free inspection of the women employed in washing”. It was also used for a muster yard on Sunday mornings when the regimented and silenced convict women were lectured on the notices and rules of the establishment and on religion.
Other Female Factory Uses
After the cessation of convict transportation to Tasmania effectively in 1856, Cascades continued to be used as a prison. In June 1856 the site was proclaimed a Gaol and House of Correction for Females, allowing the admission of 'free' women convicted locally or on remand.
The Colonial Government established an official pauper establishment on the site in 1869. In the first year of operation, a boy's reformatory was established in the Third Yard, a male invalid depot in the Fourth Yard, and a female invalid depot in the Fifth Yard. There were 272 residents in total. By the end of 1869, the 14 ex-convict 'Imperial' residents of the establishment who were supported from Imperial funds were far outnumbered by the 'Colonials'.
The physically able male paupers were employed in manual labour. Their numbers were few, however, and the prison gang and the Reformatory boys did the bulk of the effective work. A few male paupers instructed the children of female paupers and prisoners. The women inmates repaired clothing and made bedding for themselves and the males did the washing.
The Female Factory was closed in 1877 and it was used to house male invalids and paupers including ‘imperial lunatics’ transferred from Port Arthur. Yard 1 became home to the male invalid depot and a Hospital for the Insane was established in the Fourth Yard.
A Contagious Diseases Hospital was established in parts of the First and Second Yards in 1879. The passing of the Contagious Diseases Act 1879 and the establishment of the Hospital followed a public outcry in Hobart over the infection of Royal Navy sailors with syphilis and the feared curtailment of future naval visits. The police had power to seek out and report suspected cases of women with contagious diseases to the Superintendent of Police, who could then order a medical examination and the imprisonment and treatment of the woman for up to 12 weeks. In 1890, the Hospital for the Insane, which had been transferred to the Fourth Yard from Port Arthur in 1877, was closed down. The Contagious Diseases Hospital was then moved to the Fourth Yard and would remain until its closure in 1900.
Early in 1891 the Home of Mercy moved into Cascades, taking up occupation of a cottage outside the main complex. The Home of Mercy was run by the Church of England and cared for 'all fallen women'. Maud Montgomery, wife of the Bishop of Tasmania and the mother of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, was the main moving force behind the Home. In 1895, the Home took over the management of the Lying-in Hospital. Established in 1888 as an offshoot of the Benevolent Society, poor unmarried mothers were sent to the Hospital in the Third Yard. A certified mid-wife was appointed to take charge of the hospital which was expected to receive 16-17 patients annually. Women were expected to assist if able in washing, sewing or cooking. Often, women who had been released from the Hospital were sent to the Home for reform. Overcrowding of the Home led to establishment of Hope Cottage in 1896 to take some of the overflow of women.
By 1896, a large part of the complex was vacant. The Salvation Army had arrived in Hobart in December 1893, keen to extend its welfare activities in areas of need. In November 1895 its 'Prison Gate Brigade' had opened a refuge for discharged male prisoners in the Fifth Yard, which became known as the 'Prison Gate Home'. Men were admitted straight from prison, or after a period of attempting to fend for themselves. In preparing these men for a hard-working civilian life, they were put to work on chores around the Home and the gardens, distributed bills, made mats and did carpentry. Yet space at Cascades remained under-utilised and operations came under close government scrutiny in 1897 as a result of a request for further space to accommodate a women's refuge. The decision was made to sell the site.
In 1904 the Home of Mercy and Salvation Army moved to other premises as the State Government subdivided and prepared the 15-16 acre site for sale in 1904.
In 1924, the buildings in Yard 1 were demolished, leaving only the external walls standing. Around 1926, two tennis courts and club rooms were constructed in Yard 1. An archaeological excavation in 2001 located part of the retaining wall for the tennis courts, which were demolished around 1960. The wall was built from sandstone blocks, which appear to have been taken from old prison buildings on the site. In the early 1960s a wine merchant constructed a concrete besser block shed in the north-western corner of Yard 1 (the slab of which still remains) and this was joined in 1972 by a concrete besser block toilet. An engineering shed was built in 1974 and demolished by the Tasmanian Government between 1988 and 1990. Yard 1 was purchased by the state government in 1976 and has since been administered by the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service.
When the entire site was auctioned in 1905, Yard 2 was described as having ‘cells at the rear’. These had been demolished by the 1930s and a paint factory was erected on the site in the mid 1940s. This was subsequently converted into a church during the 1980s, an entity which still occupies the site.
Yard 3 was subdivided into 2 allotments at the time of the auction of the site. A succession of owners held title to one or both constituent allotments until 1942, when the fruit processing firm of J. G. Turner Prop. Ltd. bought the property as a case and wood storage yard. Between 1967 and 1986 the entire yard was used as a storage depot by a succession of owners. In 1986, Macpac Ltd acquired the yard and erected the current factory. In 1994 it was acquired for use as a fudge factory. In 1999/2000, the yard and its plant were acquired by the Female Factory Historic Site Ltd using Commonwealth, (Cultural Heritage Projects Program) funding. The Female Factory Historic Site is currently managed from part of the factory, which is also sublet to generate an income stream.
A succession of owners occupied the former matron’s Cottage and undertook a variety of small businesses in Yard 4 until the 1930s, when the block was subdivided into four allotments. Variations on this configuration have prevailed to the present day. In 2003 the southern most allotment containing the only intact building remaining from the Female Factory era, the matron’s cottage and garden, was purchased by the Female Factory Historic Site Ltd through a grant from the State Government and substantial corporate sponsorship from various sources.
A variety of owners gradually subdivided Yard 5 into domestic housing allotments throughout the first two decades of the 20th century. These have remained to the present day.
|Condition and Integrity|
Since the government divestment and sale of the
entire property in 1904, the original ground plan of Cascades Female Factory
Historical Site (CFFHS) has been substantially altered above the ground. A
variety of private owners acquired the five yards separately. The ensuing
period of private ownership substantially altered the structural integrity of
the CFFHS. Two of the five yards were to all intents and purposes obliterated
above the ground (Yards 2 and 5) with the removal of all internal buildings and
external walls leaving only the vacant land, which has since been developed. In
the remaining three yards the bulk of the perimeter walls survived but the
remaining internal buildings were lost to demolition. Only in Yard 4 was a
single cottage, built to house the resident Matron overseer, retained to the
present day. |
However, although the attrition of Female Factory related fabric was almost total above the ground, the same cannot be said for the sub surface archaeological resource. Excavation work has now been undertaken in all three yards comprising this nomination (Yards 1, 3 and 4 south).
There are no intact building remnants surviving above the ground in Yard 1.
Approximately 90 per cent of the original perimeter wall fabric surrounding Yard 1 survives in a reasonable state of preservation. Ad hoc patching of the doorways and collapsed cavities occurred throughout the early/mid 20th century using unsympathetic materials (brick, concrete blocks etc.). Vulnerable sections subsequently identified in the 1992 Conservation Management Plan (Du Cros & Associates) for this yard were stabilised and conserved shortly after using original stone work bonded with a lime based mortar mix. A major potential subsidence of the front wall is currently being redressed while the relevant fabric is supported by a timber gantry. The perimeter walls need routine maintenance to remove weed growth and concretions. The concrete capping on top of the walls is also deteriorating and will be in need of work – the level of deterioration is yet to be assessed.
Sub surface archaeology
In 2000, an archaeological test excavation was initiated immediately west of the closed connecting doorway between Yards 1 and 3 (Kostoglou 2001). In association with another test excavation further north, this activity revealed that the original ground plan blueprint designed by prominent colonial architect John Lee Archer was indeed adhered to by the 1827 builders of Yard 1. Furthermore, the robust sandstone footings of all structures throughout the eastern side of the yard survive in an excellent state of preservation beneath various layers of post 1924 demolition fill.
There are no intact building remnants surviving above the ground in Yard 3.
Approximately 40 per cent of the original perimeter wall fabric surrounding Yard 3 survives in a reasonable state of preservation. Ad hoc patching of the doorways and collapsed cavities occurred throughout the early/mid 20th century using unsympathetic materials (brick, concrete blocks etc). Vulnerable sections subsequently identified in the 2000 Conservation Management Plan (Cripps, Davis & Associates) for this yard were stabilised and conserved shortly after using a combination of original and newly hewn stone work bonded with a traditional lime based mortar mix. The eastern perimeter wall needs routine maintenance to remove weed growth in the top course of stonework.
Sub surface archaeology
Excavations (Kostoglou 2001, 2002, 2002) revealed that robust sandstone footings and sub floor cavities, relating to the two banks of solitary apartments and the offices along the front (south) wall, continue to survive at depth in an excellent state of preservation beneath various layers of post demolition fill. Such integrity may also apply to remnants situated beneath the factory building in the middle of this yard.
Yard 4 south
The c1850 matron’s Cottage situated in the south east corner of Yard 4 is the sole surviving structure from the convict period. The cottage floor plan originally consisted of four rooms heated by two double fireplaces, however later 19th century additions including two rooms were made to the eastern elevation. The surviving style and fabric of the building is otherwise exceptional. In the past year, short term conservation works including the provision of new piers for the support of floors in the eastern additions, re-painting of rooms, repointing of external brick and stone window sills and new guttering has been undertaken.
Approximately 25 per cent of the original perimeter wall fabric surrounding Yard 4 survives in a variable state of preservation. The footings to the eastern wall (mostly in private ownership and not part of this nomination) have suffered from pilferage. A Conservation Management Plan is currently being written for the whole site and will address conservation needs for this yard. The collapse of the entrance archway adjacent to the south west corner of the matron’s cottage was prevented by being pinned internally and a steel gantry erected. Conservation of the resident timber doors in both this entrance and the internal wall between Yards 3 and 4 is to follow.
Sub surface archaeology
An open area excavation undertaken in 2005 revealed the robust sandstone footings and sub floor cavities relating to the sub-matron’s cottage, kitchen/laundry and Nursery apartments continue to survive at the footings level in an excellent state of preservation. This integrity extends northwards throughout the remainder of former Yard 4 despite its separate ownership and resident structural additions throughout the 20th century (Kostoglou 2006).
Matron’s cottage collection
A collation database of the matron’s cottage collection is in process. Until conservation works have been completed at the matron’s cottage, these items are housed in two localities: The matron’s cottage and Cascades Female Factory Historic Site office.
Although provenanced and tagged as part of archaeological excavation work, the collection is yet to be catalogued. Many of the items have likewise been stored according to a fabric based system where similar fabric types are stored together in order to avoid chemical reaction. Artefacts are stored in labelled bags and boxes.
About 0.5ha, Degraves Street, South Hobart, comprising Yards 1, 3, and Yard 4
South, being Land Parcels 1/202398, 1/229358 and 1/229260.|
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Report Produced Fri Jul 11 03:32:30 2014