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It's A Riot at the Parramatta Female Factory

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by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
A jewel in the crown of Colonial Parramatta
In the early hours on a Saturday the 27th of October 1827 a group of women from the Parramatta Female Factory staged a massive breakout after downing their tools of trade. They were not happy and fled into Parramatta Town and surrounding areas.

Don't miss the anniversary of the 1827 Factory Riot. Image courtesy of the PFFF.

This Riot was brought on by a number of things leading up to that fateful morning.

Corruption over rations, factory cloth and the matron Raine's son had liaisons with the women.

Women and their children had no access to water supply, the bread was inferior and they were short of clothing and shoes.

Matron Raine responded in these last few days of office by reducing rations, cutting out the tea before resigning.

Matron Gordon begins as the new matron on Saturday the 27th and at 7am stops the allowance of bread and sugar altogether.

For the full write-up about what happened in the next couple of days click here to read what was written in the transcription of an article in Sydney Gazette& NSW Advertiser back on Wednesday the 31st of October 1827.

To celebrate this historic occasion of the 190th anniversary of the 1827 Factory Riot, the Parramatta Factory Female Friends are holding an open day on Friday the 27th of October at the Parramatta Female Factory site in North Parramatta.

Everyone is welcome to come along between 10am to 3pm and help celebrate and commemorate the Riot. While you are there, you can also check out the Herstory: Another Chapter Unfolds display, the Site Archaeology Casey & Lowe and trade tables.

You will also have the chance to explore this glorious Governor Macquarie and Frances Greenway site. There will also be other display tables that will feature models of the factory site from 1818 to 1838, history and women's stories and much more. Why don't you make a day of it a bring a picnic lunch with you? All of this is for a gold coin donation!

Of the 24,960 convict women who were transported, the Female Factory at Parramatta was home to at least 5000 of them. There were 13 female factories in early 19th century colonies, now Australia. In the Colony of NSW, the factories were: Parramatta (2), Bathurst, Newcastle, Port Macquarie (2), Moreton Bay (2). In the colony of Van Diemen's Land the factories were: George Town, Hobart Town, Cascades, Launceston and Ross.

The roles of the factories were modelled on the bridewells and penitentiaries of Britain and focussed on work and control of the women. The nature of each factory was determined by location and the period of time in which it developed. The women came from anywhere in the British Empire - 33.8% of convict women came from England, 56.3% from Ireland, 5.1% from Scotland, 1.5% from Wales, 1.4% from outside England and 1.9% unidentified.

If you are coming along to the open day and you are wanting to join one of the tours between 10.30am to 1.30pm, it is essential that you book a spot. You will need to be quick as the online bookings have already opened. Click here to book your spot on one of the tours.

There have been a few books written on or in relationship to the Riots of 1827 and the Parramatta Female Factory. A couple that come to mind are the following:

Herstory - Lives of the Parramatta Female Factory Women published by Parramatta Female Factory Friends 2015.

Herstory. Image courtesy of the PFFF.

Click here to order your own copy.

Conviction The 1827 Fight for Rights at the Parramatta Female Factory by Gay Hendriksen

Conviction by Gay Hendriksen. Image by Amiel and courtesy of the Rowan Tree heritage and Cultural Services.

Click here to order your own copy.

On a different note author Meg Keneally and her father, author Tom Keneally AO have recently (2016) taken on an exciting new job amid their busy writing and publishing schedule, accepting the inaugural post as PATRONS of the Parramatta Female Factory Friends Inc.

Image courtesy of the PFFF.

Meg was guest speaker at the 2016 annual Riot Day event held at the female factory site as her great, great grandmother Mary Shields from Limerick, Ireland, was a factory woman.

Meg and Tom have a further fascination for the Female Factory having just researched and completed the second novel in their Monsarrat colonial whodunnit series, The Unmourned, which is set in Parramatta and which is due out in March 2017.

Unmorned by Meg and Thomas Keneally. Image courtesy of Penguin Books.

Click here to order your copy.

While researching the book, Meg was lucky enough to get to stand in the old meeting room where her great - great grandmother would certainly have stood.

For more information on what the Parramatta Female Factory Friends actually do you can click here and read the newsletter October 2016 Newsletter.
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When: 10am to 3pm
Phone: 0447189137
Where: Cumberland Hospital, Fleet Street, North Parramatta.
Cost: A gold coin donation.
Your Comment
I would like to say thank you for all your time you put into the information you supply us with. I took my grand daughter to the Korean Festival and we had a grate time, she loved it and all the food we got to try, if it wasn't for your post I would have not known about. Thank you again, and keep up the good work....
by maryh1 (score: 1|10) 734 days ago
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