I envy those countries where the leaders and decision-makers value their heritage and history. Unfortunately, Australia does not fall into that category. The Parramatta Female Factory, where so many of our female ancestors started their colonial life, was in serious danger of being turned over to developers. It appears to have had a reprieve, but more needs to be done to ensure it’s survival.
Imagine being convicted of a crime and banished to the other side of the world. This is what happened to the women who were housed at the Parramatta Female Factory. It served as a labour exchange, half-way house and a prison from 1821 to 1848. It had a class system and even provided those in the ‘better’ class the opportunity to be chosen as a marriage partner. This is not a past that we should be removing all traces of, but rather, preserving the building in which many of our foremothers were housed.
Through tireless effort, the Save Parramatta Female Factory group have managed to have the building listed as national heritage. Now it needs to be heritage listed to ensure that it survives for suture generations. We need, and deserve, to know where we came from.
The featured image above is from the Save Parramatta Female Factory Facebook page.