The Female Factory at Cascades opened in 1827. It was run by the Convict Department. As a place of secondary punishment for convict women, it housed the babies that they gave birth to there. The Factory closed in 1853.
The Female Factory opened in Lowes Distillery, which had been converted for that purpose.
Many of the convict women were at the Factory for being single and pregnant, in part because they could not work but also to punish their sexual behaviour. Once their babies were weaned, the women were sent to the crime class for six months. Early weaning, overcrowding, and poor hygiene led to a high infant mortality rate.
The Factory closed in 1853 following the end of transportation to Tasmania. After that the government re-used the buildings in a number of ways. These included a Boys' Reformatory, the Contagious Diseases Hospital, a Lying-in Hospital, the Home of Mercy, and a children's refuge.
In 2010, the Female Factory became a World Heritage site.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Cascades Female Factory Ruins', in Australian Heritage Places Inventory, Australian Government, https://web.archive.org/web/20190308091043/https://dmzapp17p.ris.environment.gov.au/ahpi/action/search/heritage-search/record/RNE11027.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 13 January 2012, Last modified: 25 August 2014