The Parramatta Female Factory Precinct is an area of approximately 27 hectares of New South Wales Government land that contains 72 buildings that housed female convicts and destitute children continuously from 1821 until the 1990s. It is the site of the 1821 Female Factory (Cumberland Hospital) and the 1844 Roman Catholic Orphan School, which from 1887 until 1974 served as the Industrial School for Girls (Parramatta Girls Home), Taldree (1974-1980), Kamballa (1974-1983) and the Norma Parker Detention Centre (1980-1990s). Government departments then occupied the site until 2009. The Girls Training School Precinct has been listed on the Register of the National Estate since 21 March 1978. In November 2017, the Parramatta Female Factories and Institutions Precinct was added to the National Heritage List.
The Parramatta Female Factory Precinct has been identified as highly significant by Bonney Djuric and Parragirls, and members of the Parramatta historical community, as well as historians, heritage experts, activists and local politicians.
The Precinct comprises more than 72 buildings, built landforms, structural features, intact sub-floor deposits, open deposits and scatters and individual artefacts which have the potential to yield information relating to major historic themes including Aboriginal post-contact, Convict, Cultural Sites, Environment, Industry, Government and Administration, Health and Welfare.
A fire occurred in the Orphan School building on 21 December 2012, causing significant damage and destroying the historic interior.
In 2017, the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct was inscribed on the National Heritage List. The inscription notes that "the Precinct is outstanding in its capacity to tell the stories of women and children in institutions over the course of Australian history...The Precinct demonstrates how colonial and state governments chose to address the perceived problem of vulnerable women and children, who they regarded as needing protection and control, through the use of institutions as a core element of the welfare system." The Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Inc works to protect, preserve and promote the history and heritage of the Precinct, and activate it as an International Site of Conscience.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Dismay after Parramatta's historic Norma Parker Detention Centre orphanage damaged by fire', Parramatta Advertiser, 10 January 2013, http://parramatta-advertiser.whereilive.com.au/news/story/dismay-after-historic-site-damaged-by-fire/; 'Female Orphan School and Historical Precinct, Parramatta Campus', in Whitlam Institute, 2013, https://www.whitlam.org/history-of-the-female-orphan-school; National Heritage List: Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct, Commonwealth of Australia, 2017, http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/parramatta-female-factory-and-institutions-precinct; Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct, National Heritage List, 2017, https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/places/national/parramatta-female-factory-and-institutions-precinct; Djuric, Bonney, Abandon All Hope: a history of Parramatta Industrial School, Chargan, Georges Terrace, 2008, 238 pp; Girls Training School Precinct [Image], Date: May 1996 Creator: Chapman, Daryl; 'Girls Training School Precinct, 1 Fleet St, Parramatta, NSW, Australia [Register of the National Estate]', in Australian Heritage Database, Department of the Environment, Australian Government Department of the Environment, http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;place_id=3028; Han, Esther, 'Female Factory tales to be told', The Sunday Sun-Herald, 4 November 2012, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/female-factory-tales-to-be-told-20121103-28qub.html; Judy Rapley, 'Bonney Djuric', ABC Radio National Verbatim, 22 May 2008, http://www.abc.net.au/rn/verbatim/stories/2008/2236369.htm; Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, 2006-, http://www.parragirls.org.au/; Stockell, Poppy, 'Bonney Djuric on Parramatta Girls' Home 2009', in Dictionary of Sydney, 2009, http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/audio/20049?zoom_highlight=parramatta+girls+home.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 30 August 2013, Last modified: 3 February 2023