The Cascades Female Factory

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The Cascades Female Factory, in South Hobart, is the only convict female factory with ruins remaining today. During the convict era, female factories were a system for the management of female convicts, found only in Australia, according to the colonial nineteenth century moral ideals. More female convicts spent time at the Cascades Female Factory than at any other site in Tasmania, and the site represents a place of extreme suffering. Female factories were built in order to contain and manage the significant numbers of female convicts, who were often seen as having an immoral effect on colonial society. The Cascades Female Factory was a place of punishment and work, and housed convict women who were between assignments, waiting to be hired, or sick or pregnant. The site was known for its high death rates and prevalence of disease, both in its female convict population and in the many children born or raised at the site.

The site was built in 1828 and, running until 1856, was one of the longest-lasting of the Tasmanian penal institutions. The site was later used as a prison, an institution for the poor and insane and as a hospital. From 1905, successive demolitions have left the site as the ruins visible today. The site was listed as an Australian Convict site on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010.