Heritage management at the Cascade Female Factory covers a broad range of programs and initiatives, ranging from conservation management, archaeology and interpretation, to our buildings and works program and managing our extensive collections.

Matron’s Quarters Conservation

Constructed in 1850, the Matron’s Quarters dates from the final phase of the Female Factory.  While being used as a residence from around 1904, additions were made to the building to create a street frontage to Degraves Street.

Conservation and maintenance works will be undertaken to the Degraves Street frontages of the Matron’s Quarters.  The works will include repair of masonry elements where necessary, repairs and repainting of joinery.  Repair and maintenance works on the external facades facing Yard 4 that were completed in 2015 will be checked over and, if necessary, additional works will also be completed to these facades.

New coir runners are also being installed in the hallway of the Matron’s Quarters.

Yard 3-4 Wall Stabilisation

In 2017 conservation work was undertaken on the wall between Yards 3 and 4 at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site after an inspection found sections to be in very poor condition. The mortar was found to be failing in some areas, while many stones were disintegrating through the process of ‘exfoliation and delamination’. One area had begun to bulge from loss of stability.

During the works, individual stones were refaced, re-laid or replaced as necessary. The bulging area of the wall was completely re-laid and any stone found to lack structural strength were replaced.  One issue faced was matching the replacement stones, as the wall was originally made with a range of different stone types of unknown origin, each differing in colour and modes of decay.

The stone that was chosen as the replacement material was selected for its strength and yellowish hue which matches much of the original stone being replaced.  For authenticity, traditional lime mortar was used for pointing and capping, while the stonemason replicated the varying stonework styles found on the wall.

In order to reduce the speed of further deterioration, monitoring and maintenance of the wall shall continue as part of our conservation program.

Messenger Door Conservation

The team at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site have been busy reinstating the Messenger’s Door, one of two surviving convict period doors in the yard walls of the Factory.

The Factory employed two Constables who were expected to act as messengers between convict officials and the Factory at any hour. Their contact with the residents of the Factory was strictly limited, requiring them to enter and exit the property through their own private door – which became known as the Messenger’s Door.

As one of two surviving convict period doors in the yard walls of the Female Factory, it was deemed necessary to conserve this building element. In 2015 the door was removed for conservation treatment. Following treatment, it was reinstated behind transparent barriers to protect it from future damage.

The images show the door prior to its removal, during removal, and the door restored to its original location.

photograph of messenger door at Cascades Female Factory before and after conservation works