Convict lives at the Launceston Female Factory

26/02/2013

The Premier Lara Giddings launched the third in a series of books about Tasmanian convict women, last weekend.

Convict Lives at the Launceston Female Factory is a collection of 34 stories about individual convict women torn from their lives in the United Kingdom and transported to Van Diemen’s Land.

Ms Giddings commended the Convict Women’s Press and the Female Convicts Research Group for their work in uncovering the stories of Tasmania’s convict women.

“This book gives a voice to those women who were first incarcerated in Hobart before being taken to the Launceston Female Factory. Research such as this gives us a better understanding Tasmania’s convict history,” Ms Giddings said.

“Torn from their homes in the United Kingdom, they were sent to an unfamiliar land and incarcerated in appalling conditions, often with their children in tow. These women are the founding mothers of Tasmania, both for the children they bore and through their involvement in creating community, establishing culture and contributing to the economy.

“Until the work of the Convict Women’s Press and the Female Convicts Research Group, the story of convict women was little known.

“Unfortunately little remains of the Launceston Female Factory as a physical reminder of this part of our history,” Ms Giddings said.

The contributors to Convict Lives at the Launceston Female Factory are all volunteers and come from Tasmania and beyond.

The money raised from the sale of the book will be used to publish other books in the convict women’s series.

The book was produced and published locally by the Convict Women’s Press and printed by Forty Degrees South and Print Applied Technology.

“Congratulations to the contributors and all involved in the publishing of Convict Lives at the Launceston Female Factory is a terrific addition to our understanding of the history of Tasmania, Ms Giddings said.”

Convict Lives at the Launceston Female Factory is available for sale for $25 from all good Tasmanian bookstores, or from the Convict Women’s Press. An electronic version is also available.

A similar event highlighting stories in the book will be held in Launceston to coincide with Heritage Week in May.

The Premier officiates at the launch. Photo: Robyn Shaw

The Premier officiates at the launch. Photo: Robyn Shaw