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Cascades Female Factory Reopens with a Compelling New History and Interpretation Centre

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The site re-opens to the public this Saturday 26 March

Cascades Female Factory Reopens with a Compelling New History and Interpretation Centre

The Honourable Madeleine Ogilvie, MP Minister for Women this morning unveiled the new $5 million History and Interpretation Centre at the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart, Tasmania. The site re-opens to the public this Saturday 26 March.

The new state-of-the art interpretative experience was revealed to more than 100 VIP guests and stakeholders. The Cascades Female Factory tells the tragic and triumphant stories of convict women, the local Aboriginal history of the site and the significant role women played during colonisation. 

Mr Grant O’Brien, chair of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA), said: “In line with recommendations from the World Heritage Committee, The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority has developed the new History and Interpretation Centre to better present and interpret the significance of this heritage site and share many of these relatively unknown stories with visitors.”

The Cascades Female Factory tells the story of the dispossession, mistreatment and forced migration of convict women and their children, and their contribution to colonisation that echoes through to the present. 

“Many of the stories presented here have not been told before - we are inviting the world to come and experience significant pieces of our colonial past. These stories are interwoven with the First Nation’s stories of Palawa, their culture that is over 40,000 years old and which was so gravely impacted by the British colonisation of the early 1800s,” said Mr O’Brien.

The site is well positioned to draw international, national and local visitors to Hobart – building capacity for sustainable tourism, raising public awareness of conservation principles, sharing expertise and knowledge with other World Heritage sites and protected areas, and building an increased understanding of the need to protect these sites for future generations.

Thanks to the funding of $3 million committed by the Tasmanian State Government and $2.024 million from the Commonwealth Government, the site now offers an important and engaging look at the role of women during the convict era and the echoes of their influence in contemporary Australia. With a range of tours and interpretative experiences on offer, the site is a significant centrepiece of Tasmania’s convict history. 

The new facilities and experiences at the History and Interpretation Centre include:  

Interpretation within the building and landscaping that includes an exhibition, audio tour, convict history tour, theatrical performance, educational tours and, in the future, a program of special events that align with the heritage values of the site will be developed.

A photographic installation that features 24 contemporary women who share their personal stories and connection to the site via ancestral links, they amplify the often-silenced voices of women in the past through research, writing, community outreach and support for the conservation of Cascades Female Factory. 

Women included in the installation: Jo Slamen and Lorraine Davidson, both 3rd generation convict descendants; Dianne Snowden, convict descendent and author; Robin Banks, Tasmania’s former Anti-discrimination commissioner; Theresa Sainty, First Nations linguist and Aboriginal cultural affairs consultant, and Sharifah Emalia Al-Gadrie, an advocate for a fairer world and anti-racism. Plus a further 18 women, listed in the editor’s notes below.

The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD who first visited the site during her tenure as Governor General of Australia, attended the launch event and delivered an engaging keynote address.  “The Cascades Female Factory serves as a place for reflection and celebration of the courage of the founding mothers of Australia. The stories explore the significant role the women played in shaping Australia’s identity. Many of these stories have not been told before. The site allows us to explore our history, it opens our eyes and our hearts to ensure that we learn from the past. We can’t change the past, but we can use the lessons of the past to shape our future” said The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce.

The launch event was hosted by Master of Ceremonies Tracey Spicer AM, with Kristal Buckley AM, Board Director of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority. Theresa Sainty, First Nations linguist and Senior Indigenous Scholar at the University of Tasmania delivered the Welcome to Country address. Ms Sainty played a key role in integrating the Aboriginal stories into the interpretation of the site.

The Cascades Female Factory is open seven days a week from 9am–5pm, with tours available throughout the day. All site entry tickets include a new self-guided audio tour experience. 

Entry Prices: Site Entry (including audio guide): Adult: $25.00 AUD; Child (7 to 17 years, under 6 years free): $10.00 AUD; Concession: $10.00 AUD; Family (2 adults and up to 6 children): $60.00 AUD. 

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The Mint Partners, Fri, 25 Mar 2022 08:17:42 GMT