Cash boost for iconic Female Factory site

THE historic Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart will undergo a multi-million dollar makeover with the support of a Tasmanian Government grant.

The State Government has contributed $3 million towards a new visitor and interpretation centre at the UNESCO World-Heritage listed site, which is operated by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA).

PAHSMA chief executive Stephen Large said it was hoped the project would significantly increase visitation.

“The new building will give us a much better opportunity to interpret the women’s convict story, and to stimulate interest in the contribution they made to this country,” he said.

The project was designed by local architectural firm Liminal Studio in partnership with Snohetta and Rush Wright Associates, and recently received relevant approvals from the Heritage Council and Hobart City Council.

“This vital and exciting heritage project will deliver jobs for local businesses and contractors, and help the Tasmanian community recover and rebuild from COVID-19,” Minster for Heritage Elise Archer said.

Opened as a jail between 1828 and 1856, the Cascades Female Factory was one of the longest operating female factories in Australia.

More than half of the 25,000 female convicts who were transported to Australia came to Van Diemen’s Land and most would have had a connection with the Cascades Female Factory.

“It is one of very few surviving female factories and has been deemed of international heritage significance due to its ability to tell the female convict story,” Ms Archer said.

“Ninety-one per cent of females who arrived in Tasmania had been convicted for minor crimes.

“It is also a significant site for the Hobart region, seeing almost 35,000 visitors in 2018-19 and is a significant tourist attraction in Tasmania.

Caption: From left, Cascades Female Factory site manager Greta McDonald, Minister for Heritage and local Liberal Member for Clark Elise Archer and PAHSMA chief executive Stephen Large.

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