Parramatta Female Factory


Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct is part of the Tentative list of Australia in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List. It is a proposed extension of WHS.

Map of Parramatta Female Factory

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Shandos Cleaver

Australia - 03-Mar-24 -

Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct (T) by Shandos Cleaver

By a funny coincidence, the day that I read of this new Australian site being added to the tentative list, I was already planning on visiting Parramatta (the Wistaria Gardens with their cherry blossom trees in bloom, on the edge of the Old Government House and Domain location for the existing Australian Convict Sites). Usually most new tentative sites are on the other side of the world and require a 24 hour flight, but this only required a 10 minute detour on foot (the existing convict site and this new proposed site are almost adjacent, on opposite sides of the Parramatta River, and easy to visit together).

At the moment, the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct is not fully set up for visitors, although there are a lot of developments going on in the area (and in Parramatta in general) and I'm sure there will be more visitor options in the future. Initially I thought the focus was just on the Female Factory, which is difficult as some of the buildings have been knocked down and others repurposed over the years for a mental institution and other health facilities. The precinct is on the edge of a current day health precinct.

Wandering around the site, there's quite a few signs that explore the history of the site and show maps of the different buildings at different points in time - more than I expected. One of the most interesting parts of the site currently open to the public is ParraGirls, the former girl's home, which is open two days a week (but not on the day of my visit). I could still enter the front garden of the grand building. One of the main other buildings is these days used as a Startup Hub (reminding me of old mining and industrial sites in Europe repurposed for cultural purposes). The Parramatta Female Factory Friends also run a few tours throughout the year, which I'd like to check out. I also found extensive information panels next to the Parramatta District Men's Shed. (For online info, see:

One of my main questions during my visit was what is the OUV of this site and is it worthy of being listed? While the similar Cascade Female Factory in Hobart has been listed as part of the Australian Convict Sites, I could not think of any other WHS anywhere in the world that is just devoted to female institutes, mental asylums, and/or orphanages (surprising given how many were built, often in impressive buildings - compare this to the many forts or monasteries that have been inscribed). This site is all three, and is an important vestige of how these less powerful, minority groups (females, the mentally ill, children particularly orphans) were treated in the 19th century. 

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Full Name
Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct
Extension of
Structure - Civic and Public Works
2023 Added to Tentative List

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Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct (T)


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