Ross Female Factory
Ross Female Factory

Ross Female Factory Historic Site

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​Although little remains of the Ross Female Factory, the site, located just outside the picturesque township of Ross in Tasmania’s Midlands, holds a symbolic place in Tasmania’s convict history. Derived from the British institutional word ‘manufactory’, the name represents the prison’s role as a workhouse for the female convicts incarcerated here – some with their babies – between 1847 and 1854.

A rustic stone cottage at the entrance to the historic site that once housed the prison’s overseer is now a museum offering informative insights into the lives of female convicts in the mid-1800s. Upon arriving at the Ross Female Factory cast your eyes across the grassy expanse and try to imagine the clusters of stone buildings that on​​ce stood here, including a chapel, nurseries, workrooms and solitary confinement cells.

The Ross Female Factory was one of four female workhouses established in Tasmania:

 
The Cascade Factory,​ Degraves Street, South Hobart (1829): this Factory is an Historic Site managed by the Parks & Wildlife Service. An interpretation display is provided for visitors.

 
The Launceston Factory (1832): this Factory was demolished in the 1930s, and built-over by Launceston College. The well, and an original sandstone perimeter wall remain.

 
The George Town Factory (1829): this Factory was occupied for only a short period in a house rented from a local clergyman. After the Launceston Factory was opened, George Town was closed.

 
The Ross Female Factory (1847): this Factory was adapted from an 1842 Road Gang Station built for male convicts. Although little architecture remains above the ground, Ross Factory is the most archaeologically intact female convict site in Australia.​