History and Interpretation Centre


Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA), which is responsible for the management and conservation of the Cascades Female Factory, is building a new History and Interpretation Centre.

PAHSMA recently received planning approvals for this project from the Heritage Council and Hobart City Council.  Thanks to funding commitments of $3 million from the Tasmanian Government and $2 million from the Commonwealth Government, construction of this project is hoped to commence in early 2021.

The project has been determined to be a controlled action (EPBC 2020/8662) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The controlling provisions under the EPBC Act are ‘World Heritage properties’ and ‘National Heritage places’.  The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has advised the project will be assessed by preliminary documentation.  For more information or to view the documentation click here.

photograph of artists impression of part of the Cascades Female Factory History and Interpretation Centre


An Architectural Design Competition was launched in March 2017 that called for a design that would celebrate the significance and heritage values of the World-Heritage listed Cascades Female Factory and acknowledge the contribution of convict women throughout the history of colonial Australia and up to the present day.

The competition jury comprised female leaders in architecture, heritage management, and the arts including Catherine Baudet (Director Ferrier Baudet Architects); Janet Carding (Director Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery); Justine Clark (architectural editor, speaker and research); Shelley Penn (Director Shelley Penn Architect); and Penelope Evatt Seidler AM (Director Harry Seidler and Associates).

A Tasmanian architecture firm, Liminal Studio, in partnership with international firm Snøhetta and Melbourne landscape practice Rush Wright Associates, were announced as the design winners in March 2018.

Grant O’Brien, Chair of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority says:

“The new History and Interpretation Centre is an exciting project that will invigorate this globally significant heritage site. Tasmanian firm Liminal Studio, in partnership with Snøhetta International and Rush Wright Associates, have presented a design that will emotionally connect visitors to the existing heritage fabric of the site and sensitively convey the stories of the thousands of women who passed through it.”


photograph of the winning design of the Cascades Female Factory History and Interpretation Centre Design Competition

Winning design by Liminal Architecture Snohetta and Rush Wright Associates. IMAGE: Brick Visuals