This site has been developed to share the histories and personal stories related to Australia's Convict Female Factories.
It is an evolving site and we continue to gather information and names of factory women and staff relating to the factories. Your stories, information and questions are always welcome. We are developing a female factory descendants database - see our descendants page for more information. We also aim to link into other research undertaken which expands our knowledge of our factories so if you are researching or have researched and want to share it send your information or site links and we will include it in our resources.
Convict Female Factories
Convict Female Factories were developed between 1804 and 1856 for convict women.
An estimated 9,000 convict women were in the 13 female factories, in the colonies of NSW and Van Diemen's Land. This spanned a period of 52 years -1804 to 1856. An estimated 1 in 5 to 1 in 7 Australians are related to these women.
Convict Female Factory Women were women transported - transported from one place to another, one life to another, one world to another. Their stories range from those of machine breakers and displaced farm workers to petty thieves and family women just trying to survive.
The factories were called factories because each was a site of production. The women produced spun wool and flax in all the factories. In the main factories other work was undertaken such as sewing, stocking knitting and straw plaiting. Hard labour included rock breaking and oakum picking. They were also penitentiaries, places for assignment(finding servants and labourers), refuges for the destitute, hospitals and agencies to find a wife. There were 13 female factories - Parramatta (2), Bathurst, Newcastle, Port Macquarie (2), Moreton Bay (2), Hobart Town, Georgetown, Cascades, Launceston and Ross. The experience in the factories varied according to when the women were in the factory and which factory they were in.