Cascades Female Factory for World Heritage Listing?

Prompted by the nomination for World Heritage Listing, some vital work has been undertaken at the Cascades Female Factory recently . Visitors to the site in the past few months, would have met piles of building materials, including steel, to help stabilise the leaning wall, and stones to create gabion walls instead of the wooden fences previously in place.

A section of the perimeter wall in Yard One had been temporarily buttressed out into the street to stop it bowing further. Now, as part of the ongoing Conservation Management Plan, a steel structure has been built inside the wall and bolted to the wall to prevent any further deterioration. If you think this is just any old bracing however, think again. An archaeological dig, earlier this year, established the location of the administration buildings and prison gates which greeted the inmates on their arrival at the Female Factory. The steel structure has been erected so as to replicate, as far as possible, the shape and size of these buildings. Whilst not attempting to “reconstruct” these buildings, the steel frame, which will include an observation deck, maintains the integrity of Yard One of the Female Factory.

At the time of writing, we have not performed Louisa’s Walk with this structure in place, but we know it will enhance the experience of Louisa’s life in the Female Factory, and will give us all an important visual grasp of the scale of this forbidding place. Audience members who have experienced Louisa’s Walk almost all say “You really take us back there!” Our drama is so compelling it matters little that most of the buildings on this important site are no longer there. However, even though imagination is a wonderful thing, it will really help to have this structure to help visitors see the scale of the original prison.

We have just returned from a wonderful five week break, ready to inform and entertain you anew of the plight of early convict women in the unique way that is, Louisa’s Walk. History comes alive for another year!

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