In the latter part of the transportation period, under the Probation System, female convicts were usually held in hiring depots (sometimes known as Branch Factories) awaiting hire into service by employers.
In Launceston, there was a hiring depot in a rented house in St John's Square which operated until mid-1848. After this time, Launceston Female Factory served as the Hiring Depot.
In Hobart, there was as a hiring depot in Hobart at New Town—Brickfields Hiring Depot. In 1843, there was also a temporary hiring depot for female convicts in Liverpool Street, Hobart and in the late 1840s female convicts could also be hired from the Anson Probation Station. From 1852, Cascades Female Factory also acted as a hiring depot.
On 6 September 1852, the Comptroller-General's Office issued the following proclamation.
IT is hereby notified that Female Pass-holders can now be returned from private service to the Cascade Factory as well as to the Brickfields Depot.
As it was difficult for employers in the 'interior' to travel to either Launceston or Hobart, a hiring depot was later opened at Ross, as part of the Ross Female Factory.
The Hobart Town Gazette regularly listed the number of female probation pass-holders awaiting hire during the probation period of transportation.
On 23 October 1847, the Comptroller General's Office listed 174 female pass-holders awaiting hire:
- 117 at Brickfields Hiring Depot, Hobart
- 17 at St John's Square, Launceston
- 40 on board HMS Anson
On 7 April 1848, the Comptroller General's Office listed 83 female passholders awaiting hire:
- 69 at Brickfields Hiring Depot, Hobart
- 14 at Launceston Hiring Depot, St John's Square, Launceston
A month later, the Hobart Town Gazette (9 May 1848 p.465) announced that the Hiring Depot in St John's Square, Launceston for female probation passholders would close on 31 May 1848 ...
... and that their hiring will be effected from that date at the Female Factory.
However, it appears that the Hiring Depot in St John's Square did not close until the end of June as the returns in the Hobart Town Gazette until that time still list female probation passholders awaiting hire from there. By 3 July 1848, Launceston Female Factory has replaced St John's Square Hiring Depot on these lists.
Launceston Examiner (Tas.; 1842-1899) Sat 11 Jan 1851 p8 Advertising
Number of female passholders awaiting hire:
|Hobart Town Brickfields Depot:||276|
|Ditto, Cascade Factory:||176|
|New T'own Farm Female Hiring Depot||71|
|Ross Hiring Depot||49|
The above numbers supports the contention that the system was over-burdened and unable to cope with the numbers of convicts awaiting hire.