Female Factory stories to be performed in Dublin

The stories of Australia’s women convicts will be told in Ireland by artists with close ties to the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site in Hobart.

Performers Judith and Chris Cornish will join Female Factory Artist-in-Residence Christina Henri and perform excerpts from the popular Her Story dramatised guided walking tour the pair offer at the Female Factory. The performance will take place at a reception hosted by Dublin Lord Mayor, Naoise O Muiri, in honour of Roses from the Heart, the long-term project by Christina Henri which aims to have a cloth bonnet made for every female convict who was transported from the British Iles to Australia. This is Dr Henri’s third visit to Ireland since 2010 with Roses from the Heart, and the Irish have taken her to their hearts and have become very involved in making bonnets.

Her Story tells of the trials and tribulations of a convict woman subjected to the harsh discipline of the Female Factory in the 1830s. Acting Manager of the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, Robyn Bradshaw, said the international exposure was fantastic for the Female Factory, and for Tasmania in general.

“Australia, and especially Tasmania, has very strong links with Britain and Ireland through shared history, and we do have a lot of visitors from that part of the world who come to see where their ancestors might have ended up,” said Mrs Bradshaw.

“Having Chris and Judith and their team present, with us, Her Story every day for the past 14 months at the Female Factory has really helped our visitors engage with the stories of those women in a very tangible and emotional way.”

“It has helped to lift the profile of the Cascades Female Factory, and demonstrated that there are many places where visitors can explore the convict story in Tasmania.”

Chris and Judith Cornish also operate Louisa’s Walk, another popular guided walking tour in the South Hobart precinct, telling the story of a woman’s conviction and transportation, and which is rated on TripAdvisor as the number one activity for visitors to Hobart.

Whilst in Ireland, Christina Henri will be undertaking negotiations for displays and exhibitions arising from her Roses from the Heart project. Thousands of bonnets have been made all across Ireland, with some personally been delivered to Christina at the Cascades Female Factory.

“Many bonnet makers feel compelled to follow in the footsteps of the woman their bonnet remembers,” said Dr Henri.

“Visiting sites where ‘their’ convict spent time is the impetus for their visiting Tasmania.”

Related event

Dr. Christina Henri will be giving a talk on Roses from the Heart on Tuesday 30 April, 2013 at 12.30pm at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, 16 Degraves Street, South Hobart, Tasmania.

The talk will cover the presentation of 800 bonnets to Christina at the Arbour Hill Gaol in Dublin last year and events being organised for 2013/2014.

All members of the public are cordially welcome to attend this free talk. If you wish to support the work being done by Dr. Henri to remember the 25,566 women sentenced to transportation to Australia 1788-1853 do mark this date on your calendar. Make the most of this opportunity to engage with the site and see the progress of work being undertaken by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority who manage the site.

A raffle to assist the realisation of Roses from the Heart will be drawn at the event.

More Information

The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site is one of 11 places that form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. It is managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority.

Her Story is performed daily at 11am at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, 16 Degraves Street South Hobart.


Chris and Judith Cornish perform "Her Story" at the Cascades Female Factory

Chris and Judith Cornish perform “Her Story” at the Cascades Female Factory

Bonnets, similar to this one, are a feature of 'Roses from the Heart'

Bonnets, similar to this one, are a feature of ‘Roses from the Heart’