Public art marks Female Factory Bicentennial
Public art marks Female Factory Bicentennial

Public art marks Female Factory Bicentennial

Watercolour painting of Parramatta Female Factory site

Thousands of convict women will be remembered when a commemoration wall marking the 200th anniversary of the Parramatta Female Factory is unveiled on site this weekend.

This event marks two centuries since Governor Lachlan Macquarie laid the foundation stone in July 1818 for the first purpose built female factory in the Colony.

Former NSW Governor, Professor, the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir will unveil the commemoration wall featuring the names of the female convicts that passed through the Parramatta Female Factory.

“This represents our continuing commitment to public art and heritage on the historic Parramatta North site,” said UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation Chief Executive Barry Mann.

“UrbanGrowth NSW is assisting the Parramatta Female Factory Friends by constructing and landscaping this important project so these women are never forgotten.”

To complement the work in the vicinity of the factory, UrbanGrowth NSW has recently completed the first stage of heritage works as part of an $18 million conservation program.

This has involved repairing five heritage buildings to ensure they are safe, secure and weatherproof as well as archaeological investigations to improve the understanding of Aboriginal and European history at the site.

An estimated 5,000 unassigned convict and free women, including those with young children, passed through the factory at Parramatta North from 1821 until its closure in 1848.

It operated as a refuge, workhouse, marriage bureau, hospital and place of punishment for women sent to the Colony of New South Wales and later repurposed as an invalid and lunatic asylum on the current Cumberland Hospital site.

Situated within the nationally listed heritage core, the wall is designed to be a functional piece of public art where visitors can sit, reflect and learn.

“This piece of public art is a gesture of remembrance for the thousands of women who passed through the Parramatta Female Factory since 1818 and provides much needed heritage interpretation of one of Australia’s most important colonial sites,” Mr Mann said. 

“We hope this commemoration wall provides all Australians with the opportunity to visit Parramatta North and reflect on its rich and controversial past.”

The memorial was designed by TKD heritage architects with input from the Parramatta Female Factory Friends. 

The opening will take place at 5 Fleet Street on Saturday 7th July 2018 from 10am-3:30pm. The dedication will be held at 1:00pm. See full event details