|List||National Heritage List|
|Legal Status||Listed place (04/08/2009)|
|Place File No||6/01/004/0038|
|Summary Statement of Significance|
Cascades Female Factory Yard 4
North is significant for its association with the lives of convict women.
Built c 1850 to house pregnant women and their infants, Yard 4 North is
associated with changing philosophies of punishment and reform for convict women.
Pregnancy was regarded as evidence of unauthorised behaviour and convict women
were confined and punished for the crime.
Yard 4 North formed part of the Cascades Female Factory (1828-1856), the primary site for the reception and incarceration of most of the women convicts sent to Van Diemen’s Land. 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.
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 ‘responsible’ workers, wives and mothers, the authorities established female factories. The factories operated 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.
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 nursery was considerably higher than the general population. The appalling living conditions and very high infant mortality marks Cascades Female Factory Yard 4 North as a place of great suffering.
Isolation from fellow inmates was at this time regarded as critical to penitence and reform. The high wall which separates Yard 4 from Yard 3 and footings of the outside wall of the Yard 4 demonstrate how convict women were isolated from negative influences and in turn the walls protected society from their corrupting influence. The extensive below ground archaeological remains of the nursery building have outstanding potential to provide further information about and understanding of the living and working conditions of convict women imprisoned in Yard 4 North.
Yard 4 North 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
Yard 4 North formed the northern part of the fourth yard of the Cascades Female Factory and includes a former easement which ran parallel to the western boundary of Yard 4 South. Yard 4 North is bounded by Syme Street to the north, Yard 4 South on the southern side with an easement which extended to Degraves Street, Degraves Lane to the east and the former Yard 3 of Cascade Female Factory to the west.
Above ground structures dating from the occupation of the site in the nineteenth century have been demolished. Originally, a 160 by 26 feet (48.77 by 7.92m) purpose built nursery constructed of stone, brick and timber was located adjacent to the western wall dividing Yard 3 from Yard 4. The yard also included a large open shed, later converted to a two storey building for accommodation, privies and laundry. The yard was surrounded by a stone perimeter wall. Footings of the stone wall remain in situ along the eastern boundary, parallel to Degraves Lane.
Post 1930 features in Yard 4 North include a paling fence along Degraves Lane and Syme Street, and a range of brick and galvanised iron sheds, possibly using recycled bricks from the former Female Factory.
Excavations undertaken in Yard 4 South and the Yard 4 North easement exposed robust sandstone footings and sub floor cavities relating to the nursery building, the sub-matron’s cottage, covered walkway and kitchen/laundry. 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.
Archaeological remains may also occur outside the eastern wall on the street which relate to the construction and use of Yard 4 (Tasmanian Heritage Council 2008, p.17).
For an overview of the history and function of female factories in Australia
and more detailed information on the history of the Cascades Female Factory
refer to the History section in the Cascade Female Factory National Heritage
List place report (DEWHA AHDB No:105932). |
In 1826 an investigation into the state of the Hobart Town Female Factory found conditions to be most unsatisfactory. The governor of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) Lt Governor Arthur purchased the Cascade distillery and altered it for the reception and confinement of women convicts. In late December 1828 and early January 1829 approximately 100 women were transferred to the Cascade Female Factory. 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.
The emphasis was on the reform of the female convict through work and constant supervision, ideas which had been 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, p. 110). 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.
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.
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. As a result of the press coverage the Nursery was moved from Cascade Female Factory into a rented house in Liverpool Street, Hobart and then moved to another house in nearby Dynnyrne.
As part of a policy to better centralise the distribution of female convicts throughout the colony of Van Diemen’s Land and to alleviate overcrowding of the Female Factory a decision was taken to build a Fourth Yard at the Cascades Facility in c1848. Plans had been finalised by June 1849 for a new nursery capable of accommodating 88 women. The new yard was erected directly east of Yard 3 with a perimeter wall measuring 200 x 106 ft (60.96 x 32.31m). The main building was a 160 x 26 ft wide (48.77 x 7.92m) Nursery building built parallel to the Yard 3 western wall. A large open-sided shelter shed, later converted into a two storey accommodation building, was located centrally within the secure courtyard and laundry, washrooms and privies at the northern end of the nursery building. At the southern end of the Yard and built at the same time, but separated by a wall, was a single storeyed Matron’s house, Sub Matron’s cottage and cookhouse, which formed part of the Yard 4 complex. The former Matron’s house and archaeological remains of the Sub Matron’s cottage and cookhouse now form part of the National Heritage listing for the Cascade Female Factory Site.
Built of stone, brick and timber the Nursery formed the Fourth Yard and historically accommodated 88 women and 150 children. The new main Nursery building was designed with large airy rooms and a veranda designed to catch the maximum sunlight (Rayner 2004, p. 156). Upstairs there were four dormitories each containing 20 berths for mothers and unweaned children, arranged in two double storey tiers. On the ground floor there was a separate mess room and quarters for weaned toddlers. (Lovell Chen 2007, p. 31). In comparison to the other yards at Cascades, Yard 4 was considered by far the best designed.
While the architecture of the new nursery had changed the rules controlling its use hardly changed. Each female convict confined with an illegitimate child remained in the nursery for between three and nine months after giving birth. However at three and six months after the birth each mother had to take charge of an additional infant. At nine months her infant was considered weaned and the woman was removed to complete her punishment elsewhere in the factory. This included a sentence of six months in the Crime Class for having become pregnant. Her child was passed to the temporary care of another more recent arrival. A high infant mortality resulted from the enforced early weaning and the unhygienic conditions at the Factory. Children who survived to two or three years of age were sent to the orphan schools in New Town on the other side of Hobart until claimed by their reformed mothers or were able to support themselves.
Visiting the newly completed Nursery on 1st January 1851 one witness described the new facility:
‘In the large exercise yard, with an open shed in the centre to afford shelter from the sun, we found sixty women, with as many babies from two years to as many as days old – women and children all silent! One would have thought them all deaf and dumb… Some of the females, I found were the hired nurses of the establishment – not the mothers of the children… many of the wretched little ones, in the hands of the nurses, will never know either parent. The public consoles itself with the dry fact, that they will all come into the labour market. A large ward was allotted to the mid-day sleep of the poor little babes… There was a score or so of wooden cribs, in each of which lay two, three or four innocents, stowed away head to tail, like sardines… while others were curled about like a litter of kittens in a basket of straw’ (Rayner 2004, p. 155).
Unfortunately the infant mortality rate remained as high as before. Issues of overcrowding, sub-standard diet and short weaning times had not been addressed. Just over 100 babies died during the two years 1851 and 1852 compelling officials to transfer the nursery facility back to the government facility at New Town in March 1852 and then to the Brickfields in September that same year. The nursery was transferred back to Yard 4 North in 1854 and finally transferred back to the Brickfields in 1855 (Lovell Chen 2007, p. 31).
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, p. 157).
In an inquiry into the Convict Department in 1855, Dr Hall, who worked briefly as a medical officer at Cascades Female Factory, gave evidence that death rates in the new nursery between 1851 and 1853 were around four times higher than the mortality of children of similar age in the general Hobart district. Death rates for infants under the age of three were around 40 per cent higher than the surrounding population. Dr Hall was published in the Tasmanian Daily News in November 1855 stating that
‘With the unlimited means at the command of the convict authorities as regards lodging, ventilation, cleanliness, food, clothing, artificial warmth, nursing, medical attendance, in many of which a great part of the population at large is so ill-provided I can not see any valid grounds on which the mortality in the convict nurseries should not be greatly below, instead of so much above that of the district…..It will be patent to all, that at least 269 out of the 371 children that perished in the convict nursery for the three years and a half ending 30th June 1854, might and ought to have been alive, and were sacrificed to mismanagement alone’ (Kippen 2005, p. 8).
After convict transportation to Tasmania ceased in 1853, Cascades continued to be used as a prison. The end to transportation saw a rapid decline in female convict numbers and by June 1856 the Colonial authorities proclaimed the Cascades Female Factory as a Gaol and Female House of Correction allowing the admission of 'free' women convicted locally or on remand.
Other Uses of Yard 4 North
In 1869 the Colonial Government established an official pauper establishment on the site. The newly established Male Invalid Depot consisted of the entire complex of Yard 4 and the easternmost block of solitary cells in adjacent Yard 3. A description by a visitor to the facility in 1873:
‘The men when admitted first of all go into the reception room, and are conducted to the lavatory, where there are a number of good sized troughs used as baths. They have a good sized yard to themselves, and from here is entered all the different buildings connected with this part of the establishment. There is a large kitchen in which cooking for the men is done by some of the inmates themselves, and further on a dining room, a structure with glass sides. There is also what is called a day room for the old men, in which they are allowed to sit and smoke when they have nothing else to do…. A good many of the inmates are blind, and consequently they require a good deal of attention. The poor old fellows have very little to amuse them…’(Kostoglou 2006, p.15)
Another visitor in November 1873 further highlighted the melancholy nature of the facility:
‘…the male invalids at the Cascades are confined all the year round in a small yard surrounded by high buildings and a high wall, shutting out the sun and fresh air with the single privilege of going out in turn once a month. The most able bodies amongst them are employed on week days on the farm or about the premises. The rest sit or saunter about the yard all day long as if in a prison and sick and infirm have still less space, air or sun for recreation and all alike are shut in on Sundays’ (Kostoglou 2006, p.16).
A boy's reformatory was established in the remainder of the Third Yard and a female invalid depot in the Fifth Yard. Together with the invalid men in Yard 4 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.
In 1874 work began on the conversion of Yards 3 and 4 into a combined facility for ‘Old Convicts’ from Port Arthur. Construction was halted almost immediately due to the waterlogged nature of the ground. The Sub Matron’s cottage in Yard 4 had been demolished as it had been intended to construct the proposed kitchen complex in that location. New uses were found for the site and on 17th April 1877 the new Hospital for the Insane was gazetted and Yard 4 staff accordingly commenced receiving and treating all ‘Imperial Lunatics’ dispatched from Port Arthur. Over the next thirteen years, the Yard 4 facility drew increasingly harsh criticism over the deteriorating mental health of its charges. By August 1890, these patients had been transferred to other institutions and the Hospital for the Insane was closed down.
The next tenant was the Contagious Diseases Hospital, which sought to forcibly isolate women known to be suffering from various venereal diseases. Known as ‘The Lock’, the hospital was originally established in 1879 within Yard 2 at the request of the Royal Navy after a visit by one of its warships in May 1877 allegedly culminated in the infection of several of its crew. The establishment of a Contagious Diseases Hospital at Cascades in 1879 represents the efforts of nineteenth century governments to penalise rather than reform the poorer classes of women, particularly prostitutes who were blamed for the spread of venereal disease. Based on similar legislation in England, the Act was essentially penal in character with the initial institution being officially referred to as the 'Prison Lock Hospital'. In 1891 the Contagious Diseases Hospital was moved into the Fourth Yard of the Cascades Female Factory site. 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 Home of Mercy (an Anglican charity) which had adjacent premises immediately outside the walls of Yard 4, took over the management of the 'The Lock' from 1890. A year later, the Hospital was moved from Yard 2 to Yard 4. In 1895, what was by then known as the Home of Mercy, was relocated outside the walls of the Cascades Female Factory to a house in Degraves Lane (Lovell Chen 2007, p. 34).
In 1904 the State Government determined to sell the Cascades Female Factory site. Yard 4 was auctioned as a single lot in 1905 (GHD 2007, p. 68) and a succession of owners occupied the former matron’s Cottage and undertook a variety of small businesses in Yard 4. At some time in the early 1900s the wall around the outside of Yard 4 was demolished. In the 1930’s Yard 4 was subdivided and sold as four allotments, the greater part of Yard 4 South forming one of these portions and the remainder comprising Yard 4 North. During the twentieth century Yard 4 North was utilised by various owners for light industrial purposes. 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.
In 2007 Yard 4 North was purchased by the Tasmanian State Government to form part of the Cascade Female Factory Site.
|Condition and Integrity|
Symes Street, corner Degraves Street, South Hobart, comprising Yard 4 North,
being Land Parcels 1/230803 and 1/142201.|
Australian Heritage Commission 2000, Register
of the National Estate Database.|
Australian Memory of the World Register, Records of the Tasmanian Convict Department 1803-1893, Archives Office of Tasmania, http://www.amw.org.au/items/017/citation.htm.
Brand, Ian 1990, Convict Probation System: Van Diemen’s Land 1839-1854, Blubber Head Press, Hobart.
Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, Female Factory Research Group 2008, http://www.femalefactory.com.au/FFRG/nurseries.htm
Casella, E C 2002, Archaeology of the Ross Female Factory: Female Incarceration in Van Diemen’s Land, Australia, Records of the Queen Victoria Museum, No. 108.
Damousi, Joy 1997, Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts. Sexuality and Gender in Australia, Cambridge University Press.
Daniels, Kay 1998, Convict Women, Allen & Unwind, Crows Nest.
Davidson, Graeme, Hirst, John & Macintyre, Stuart (eds.) 2001, The Oxford Companion to Australian History, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
Department of the Environment and Heritage 2007, Cascade Female Factory Place Report, Data Base No. 105932, www.environment.gov.au/heritage/index.html
Department of Tourism, Arts and Environment 2006a, National Heritage List nomination, Cascade Female Factory Yards 1, 3 & part of Yard 4, Tasmania, unpublished.
Department of Tourism, Arts and Environment 2006b, Cascades Female Factory World Heritage Nomination (Draft) 2006, Tasmania, unpublished.
Environmental Resources Management Australia 2007, Cascades Female Factory, Hobart Final Report, Tasmanian Department of Tourism, Arts & Environment.
Frost, L 2004, Footsteps and voices A historical look into Cascades Female Factory. Female Factory Historic Site Limited.
GHD (Gutteridge, Haskens & Davey) 2007, Heritage Tasmania Draft Tasmanian Heritage Register Entries For the proposed World Heritage Serial Listing of ‘Australian Convict Sites.’
Heath, Laurel May 1978, ‘The female convict factories of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land: an examination of their role in the control, punishment and reformation of prisoners between 1804 and 1854’, ANU thesis.
Hirst, J B 1983, Convict society and its enemies, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.
Kercher, Bruce 2003, ‘Perish or Proper: The Law and Convict Transportation in the British Empire, 1700-1850’, Law and History Review, Vol. 21, No. 3, Fall.
Kerr, James Semple 1984, Design for convicts: an account of design for convict establishments in the Australian Colonies during the Transportation Era, Library of Australian History, Sydney.
Kippen, Rebecca 2005, ‘And the Mortality Frightful’: Infant and Child Mortality in the Convict Nurseries of Van Diemen’s Land, IUSSP Vulnerable Populations Conference, Paris, France, 15-16 July, http://www.femalefactory.com.au/FFRG/pdfs/RebeccaKippen8Aug06.pdf
Kostoglou, P 2006, Archaeological Excavation Yard 4 South. Cascades Female Factory, Final Report, Prepared for the Female Factory Historic Site Ltd, February.
Lovell Chen 2007, Cascades Female Factory South Hobart Conservation Management Plan, Prepared for Tasmanian Department of Tourism, Arts and Environment.
Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish 2006, World Heritage Serial Nomination for Australian Convict Sites, Consultant’s Report, report for the Department of Environment and Heritage, unpublished.
McCarron, Shirley 2001, Female Factory Historic Site Submission, Unpublished Report, Female Factory Historic Site.
Pearson, Michael and Marshall, Duncan 1998, Australian Convict Sites Draft World Heritage Nomination, Report for Environment Australia Australian and World Heritage Group.
Radi, Heather Mary Hutchinson 1810 - 1880 prison matron, www.200australianwomen.com/names/013.html, viewed 8 July 2008.
Rayner, Tony 2004, female factory, female convicts the story of the more than 13,000 women exiled from Britain to Van Diemen’s Land, Esperance Press, Dover.
Robinson, Portia 1993, The Women of Botany Bay, Penguin, Victoria.
Shaw, A G L 1998, Convicts and the colonies A Study of Penal Transportation from Great Britain & Ireland to Australia and other parts of the British Empire, The Irish Historical Press.
Tasmanian Heritage Council 2008, Cascades Female Factory South Hobart Entry to the Tasmanian Heritage Register, 21 July.
Report Produced Fri Apr 18 19:39:51 2014