Heritage grant to reveal footprints of convict history
The yards of the Cascades Female Factory will be filled with the footprints of the convict buildings that housed the women who were once held and worked there, as part of a conservation and interpretation project funded by the Federal Government's Your Community Heritage program.
Federal Heritage Minister Tony Burke joined Tasmanian Labor representatives Julie Collins MP and Senator Lisa Singh, as well as Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority board members, staff and volunteers at the Cascades Female Factory to announce the grant.
The funding will provide $374,000 to improve visitor experiences at the World Heritage listed site which once housed over 1000 people.
"Our heritage is fundamental to our national identity and informs us about where we have come from and who we are," Mr Burke said.
"The Cascades Female Factory played an important role in Australia's history and this funding will help to ensure it is able to continue telling that story."
The Cascades Female Factory opened in 1828 and operated as a prison and place of punishment for re-offending female convicts, a female labour hiring depot, a hospital, a nursery, a place for pregnant convicts and a workplace.
Federal Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins said the site is a poignant reminder of the hardships women faced during the empire-building period and an important memorial to the lives lost at the site.
The conservation and interpretation project will include design and building of interpretive footprints of the former chapels and offices in Yards 1 and 4 at the site at the South Hobart site.
Senator Lisa Singh said sharing the stories of women who toiled as convicts and their warders, and making that history accessible is what sites like the Cascades Female Factory are all about.
"I have been pleased to have worked with the Cascades Female Factory over a number of years. I have been consistently inspired by the dedication of volunteers to bring to light the stories of the women who lived here.
"As one of the only places of early female imprisonment with remains intact, it is one of the most significant sites of convict heritage in the world."
Once the footprint is in place, visitors will be able to explore the stories of convict women through interpretation media."
The Cascades Female Factory is one of eleven sites that form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. It is managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority.