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Ross Female Factory project completed
A $240,000 interpretation and conservation project at the Ross Female Factory has been completed, undertaken jointly by the Tasmanian Wool Centre and the Parks and Wildlife Service, with funding of $240,000 through the Tasmanian Community Fund.
The new interpretation includes a boundary wall for the site and signage around the archaeological remains, as well as displays inside the Staff Quarters, which is the sole standing building at the site.
It gives visitors an insight into how the factory was set-out and operated, and an appreciation of the conditions and lifestyle there.
Conservation works on the Staff Quarters were integral to the project, and included repairs to the roof, internal plasterwork and finishes.
The site was originally used to accommodate male convicts for hire. However, it’s particularly significant for the period between 1847 and 1854, when it was one of only five workhouses, or ‘female factories’ used for female convicts in Tasmania.
The Ross Female Factory is a nationally significant site in the story of female convictism. Of 74,000 convicts transported to Tasmania, about 12,500 were women, most of whom were at some point incarcerated in one of the five ‘factories.
The centre has conducted guided tours of the Ross Female Factory for 22 years, with the support of the local community.
The manager of the Tasmanian Wool Centre, Debra Cadogan-Cowper, said there have been many improvements to the site since the early days.
“Artefacts discovered at the site have added value to the convict women’s story, providing a richer experience for visitors.
“The upgraded interpretation has brought colour and life to the stories of the women and their gaolers,” she said.
The ‘Ross Community and the story of Convictism’ project opens on Wednesday May 23rd, at 10.30am, at the Ross Female Factory, on the corner of Bond and Portugal Streets.