This site has been developed to share the histories related to Australia's Convict Female Factories. 

There is now a new site focusing on the Parramatta Female Factories which has ongoing updates of information. You can find out more about Parramatta Female Factories, share your stories and contact members of the association through this new site. Just click on the link

Convict Female Factories

What are 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.



                             Parramatta Female Factory Entrance
                                       Photograph Courtesy of Ralph Hawkins