Tasmania - Cascades Female Factory

Cascades Female Factory, Hobart

Driving around the building from Degraves Street (south side, facing east, 2 photos) to Syme Street (north side, facing west, 3 photos). The "female factory" opened in 1828 as a workhouse for convicts shipped over from the United Kingdom, which lasted until 1853. It closed in 1856 right as Tasmania was being renamed from Van Diemen's Land - a relic of its discovery in 1642 by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who was sent by Governor-General of the East Indies Anthoonij van Diemen. The Dutch never settled Tasmania, nor did anyone else (Spanish or French), so the British just sailed over from Australia and claimed it. I must say, this is a very scenic place to be incarcerated.

Hobart Rivulet flows along the south side of Degraves Street.

Stepping inside Yard 3, this is a poor way to treat an authentic grindstone. It's proof that this was a place for active work, not just incarceration. The prison now comprises Yards 1, 3, and 4, numbered in order of construction as dictated by overcrowding as convicts continued to be imported. Yards 2 and 5, to the west, are gone except for perhaps buried foundations.

Front and centre in Yard 3 is an excavation of said buried foundations. These appear to be sleeping cells with a drainage channel in front.

Looking around Yard 3, this is the east wall separating Yards 3 and 4.

And here's the west wall separating Yards 3 and 1. The wall is taller in the southwest corner since that was part of the original gaol.

The northern part of Yard 3 is now a parking lot. The first two photos look west at the north side of the Yards 3/1 wall, and the last photo looks east at the Yards 3/4 wall.

Here is an overview of the oldest yard, looking north from a platform on the south side. Yard 1 has been outfitted with outlines of every building that stood in it based on the old floorplan.

This is the west wall. The northwest corner was where the solitary confinement quarters were hidden, behind invalids quarters and what was either a commissary or storage (it was labeled "store").

Here's the north wall, which was all for invalids. Why would there be a door in a prison wall? After closing in 1856, the workhouse saw different uses, and one of those was as tennis courts from 1928 into the 1960s. My guess is that a few doors were cut to simplify access to the courts, and these have since been bricked back over in the course of making this a museum.

Now the east wall, featuring more stores, more invalids quarters, and a workshop to the north, and the old constable's quarters to the south. The constable would have been one of the few males on premises, along with apparently a reformatory boys' area that populated Yard 3 and anyone in the head keeper's quarters.

On to Yard 4, the easternmost and least historical of the yards. Only the west wall (Yards 3/4) is intact. And it has another door in it. Given that this doorway is in the area that was reserved for "Ward for Insane," I'm taking a wild guess that this was for tennis players.

There is one historical component to Yard 4, and that's the 1850 Head Keeper's or Matron's Quarters. Which means the head of the entire gaol might have been a woman, in the mid-19th century. That's progressive. Most of the quarters are original, with restoration of some brick and the bay window.

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