T.Y. Lowes & Co. Distillery
In 1823, 20-acres of land area – including the area where the Female Factory now stands – was allocated by Governor Sorell to Mr Thomas Yardley Lowes. Building commenced that year of what was to become T.Y. Lowes & Co. Distillery. Regrettably for Mr Lowes, his plans to run a successful distillery were thwarted by a series of unfortunate circumstances. When Mr Lowes embarked from England with almost £2000 and goods including alcohol and distilling equipment, not a single legal distillery was operating in Van Diemen’s Land. By the time Mr Lowes opened his doors in 1824, there were at least 16 distilleries in operation, which no doubt made business tough. To make matters worse, 1825 saw the reduction of import tax on spirits, encouraging those outside the colony to bid for local business…
Life in the Cascades Female Factory
Just days after the first women were relocated to Cascades, the Rules and Regulations for the management of the House of Correction were issued to the Principal Superintendent. The rules outlined the staff required to manage the establishment: a Superintendent, a Matron, an Overseer and Task Mistress for the Crime Class, a Porter, a Clerk and two Constables. They also stipulated how the women were to be divided, in both class and duties. Arthur insisted that the women be placed in three distinct classes that ‘on no account be suffered to communicate with each other’…
The Later Years
When convict transportation to Van Diemen’s Land ceased in 1853, new institutions started using unoccupied parts of the Female Factory site. The main site was proclaimed a gaol in 1856 and transferred to local authorities – although remained known as ‘the Female Factory’. Three new site users moved in during 1869: a male invalid depot, a female invalid depot and a boys’ reformatory…
Many of the people who have passed through Cascades Female Factory throughout its history have left a mark that lives on to this very day.
People like Mary Phelan, who came to Van Diemen’s Land in 1832 in a cargo of young, respectable single woman intended as servants for the respectable and wives for ex-convicts.
Two months after she arrived she did marry, to ex-convict Job Vowles. Their first child was born in 1833 but died soon afterwards.
A World Heritage Site
The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site is one of 11 convict sites that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. Collectively these sites represent an exceptional example of the forced migration of convicts and an extraordinary example of global developments associated with punishment and reform…
The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority has a range of resources to assist anyone in undertaking research. We can also help you to research non-convicts who had a relationship with the Cascades Female Factory.
The publication Transcribing Tasmanian Convict Records by Susan Hood is now available for purchase on Kindle/Amazon. The book has been updated and the new electronic version of this helpful resource will make transcribing Tasmanian convict records a more efficient experience.