Five female house of correction, known colloquially as female factories, operated in Van Diemen's Land during the period of transportation, housing female convicts who were:
- awaiting assignment
- awaiting childbirth or weaning children
- undergoing punishment
These factories were located at:
- Hobart Town (c1821–1828)
- George Town (c1822–c1834)
- Cascades (1828–1856)
- Launceston (1834–1855)
- Ross (1848–1854)
They were called factories because the women were expected to work whilst housed there.
Towards the end of the convict period, the factories still operating housed some colonially convicted prisoners as well as convicts.
The authorities developed Rules and Regulations for the operation of the female factories. These included regulations on task work completed by the female convicts during their stay.
The End of the Factories
After the end of transportation in 1853, administration and funding of the houses of correction in Van Diemen's Land, including the female factories, were transferred from the British Government (via the Comptroller General's Department) to the local authorities (via the Sheriff's Office). This marked the end of the operating female factories as institutions in that form:
- Ross Female Factory in 1854
- Launceston Female Factory in 1855
- Cascades Female Factory in 1856
These institutions either closed altogether (Ross) or became gaols (Cascades and Launceston).
During both periods, as female factories and as gaols, they were known as houses of correction. To further complicate matters, after the factories had become gaols, they were still referred to, at times, in both the press and official documents, as factories (as they were colloquially known). Furthermore, other institutions, such as Brickfields and Campbell Street Gaol, were also, at times, referred to as houses of correction. Brickfields was also known as a branch factory of Cascades Female Factory.
The State of the Factories from the Hobart Town Gazette