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Ross Female Factory

Visitor's Guide

It is difficult to relate the grass mounds in the paddock and picturesque stone cottage with the following description from the late 1840s when this was the site of a female convict station. But apart from some first-hand accounts, a few plans and the imagination and skill of academics, these traces of past structures are our means of touching the lives of the many people who were here.

entrance well well title= chapel staff quarters nurseries and workrooms solitary cells
Image Map of Ross Female Factory 2

entrance nurseries and workrooms staff quarters staff quarters chapel solitary cells

Image Map of Ross Female Factory 1

Entrance

The main gaol complex is marked by terraces and mounds to the east of the cottage. The entrance to the complex is now a grassy ramp leading to a level terrace. The ramp was in the centre of the north range of rooms: some stone footings from this range and a stone lined drain are visible on either side of the ramp. The east range of rooms is now under the road verge.

Staff Quarters

Staff Quarters

Staff Quarters from Portugal Street

The Staff Quarters is the only extant standing structure at the site. From Portugal Street it presents as a double-fronted late Victorian cottage with a projecting gabled room, featuring a timber screen, and a set-back hipped roof section encompassing the front door adjoining it to the east.

The actual date for the cottage's construction is uncertain. The first possible reference is in August 1849 when the Comptroller-General recommended that the 'unfinished house next the present Quarters to be completed'.

The building was used for accommodation, though neither the occupants nor their role in the operation in the factory is known categorically.

Well

A circular depression just beyond the end of the ramp is the site of a well or privy that was in a yard. The middle range of the complex is less easy to see, but is marked by slight undulations in the ground and some brick and stone fragments. Another circular depression just beyond the middle range is the site of a well.

Nurseries and Workrooms

The nurseries and work rooms were south of this well; the line of the walls and rooms are visible as a series of low, linear mounds with sunken hollows in-between. Some of the stone footings of the west range are discernible at the edge of the terrace.

Chapel

The high mound at the south-east corner of the site represents the remains of the chapel.

Solitary Cells

The stone footings of the solitary apartments (the size of the cells is readily apparent) are beside and below the chapel site.