Project Update - 17 August 2021

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority is developing a new History and Interpretation Centre in Yard 3 of Cascades Female Factory.  This development will provide a purpose built centre to introduce visitors to the Cascades Female Factory, and will provide dedicated spaces for exhibitions and for education activities.  Funding for the project has been provided by the Tasmanian Government and the Commonwealth Government.

Demolition of the former Fish Processing Factory that served as the visitor centre and administration building for Cascades Female Factory for many years was completed mid-July by Reardon Demolition as sub-contractors to Hansen Yuncken.  PAHSMA’s archaeological team observed the demolition and were pleased to report that no archaeological material was uncovered by the demolition.

The footings of the Separate Apartments that had been displayed to the public have been covered over.  Being protected from the weather and potential vandalism will ensure their long term conservation for future research better than if they are exposed to the weather.  It will also allow the construction of the History and Interpretation Centre on the alignment of the western block of the former Separate Apartments.

With the pouring of the ground floor slab now completed, it is expected that the building will start to take shape very quickly.  Reinforcing the enclosure of Yard 3 with the construction of the gabion wall on Syme Street is progressing well and work on increasing the height of the Degraves Street gabion wall has started.

PAHSMA has worked with Curio Projects to finalise the landscape and interpretation plan. We are very excited about the proposed new displays and installations which will include interpretation of the second block of Separate Apartments and the former Constables Quarters that were located in Yard 3.

Project Background

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.”

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