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Parramatta Female Factory Historic Site Walking Tour

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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.
Published May 5th 2018
Great place to explore & learn from your tour guide
Over the last couple of years, I have put together a couple of articles on the historic events that have occurred at the Parramatta Female Factory. They are "It's a Riot" 22/09/16 and "Herstory" on the 30/01/17.

Some of the many females that were sent to the Parramatta Female Factory. Image courtesy of the FPFF.

Having carried out a fair amount of research on putting g together these articles, I finally decided to go on the Parramatta Female Factory Historic Site Walking Tour which is conducted on the first Friday of the month by the Friends of the Parramatta Female Factory.
This walking tour takes between one to two hours and takes you through the grounds of the Cumberland Hospital site, where you will learn more about the workings of the Parramatta Female Factory.

It was the second of 13 female factories in the colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. The first was on the top floor above the Parramatta Gaol in what is now Prince Alfred Square (formerly known as Gaol Green and Hanging Green). In New South Wales, other female factories were also established Prince Alfred Square, Bathurst, Newcastle and Port Macquarie.

To get yourself onto the tour, you will need to book in prior to the first Friday of the month. Send an email to This can be either for individuals or group bookings.

The cost for the tour is $5 per person and the proceeds go towards the fight to keep these historic buildings for all to see.

Meet your guide here. Image by Gary Brown.

The tour starts sharply at 10am and your volunteer tour guide for the day will meet you at gate five at No 5 Fleet Street North Parramatta. There is no parking on site, but when I went there, I found plenty of 4-hour parking in the surrounding streets.

The tour begins. Image by Gary Brown.

As this historic site is still a working hospital, you will need to take care when being taken around the site by your tour guide as there is still plenty of restoration going on and people coming and going for admissions and appointments.

Remember that there is still plenty of restoration work going on when walking around. Image by Gary Brown.

Your guide for the day will explain the significance of each of the buildings that you stop off at. Image by Gary Brown.

During the walk, your tour guide will take you to various spots on the grounds where you will see where the foundation stone was laid by Governor Macquarie back on the 9th of July 1818. The sandstone for this building was quarried from across the road at the entrance where you met at gate five.

Some of the sandstone that was carved out of the quarry from in Fleet Street. Image by Gary Brown.

The convicts put their own designs into the face of each of their blocks. Image by Gary Brown.

The Governor Macquarie & Francis Greenway site once housed at least 5,000 of the 24,960 convict women that were transported to Australia. They were women who were simply convicts transported to Sydney for various reasons and who spent time in a convict female factory.

You will be able to view from the outside two Greenway Buildings, original 1810 and 1830's sandstone walls, 1820s third class sleeping quarters and courtyard, the original clock and bell as well as many more architectural features.

The clock tower still has the original bell in it. Image by Gary Brown.

Another interesting fact is that the original asylum was built on the site of the Parramatta Female Factory in 1883.

While walking around the site, you should also take the time to be amazed at some of the trees and plants that have been there for years.

The are some magnificent trees in the grounds. Image by Gary Brown.

Keep an eye out as there are bats in them there trees. Image by Gary Brown.

If you are a history enthusiast and are into Australian history, this one to two-hour tour will have you amazed as to what is to be seen on this tour and the tour guide (Anne) that I had the pleasure of meeting on the day had so much knowledge about the site of the old Parramatta Female Factory that you should ask plenty of questions at the end of the tour.

Getting close to the end of the tour. Image by Gary Brown.

One other very interesting occasion that is up and coming is the Bicentenary of the National Heritage Listed Governor Lachlan Macquarie commissioned female convict Parramatta Female Factory Commemoration of the laying of the foundation stone that will be held on Saturday 7th July 2018 to celebrate & acknowledge the National significance of the earliest and most intact female convict site in Australia.
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Why? Great place to explore.
When: 10am sharp
Where: 5 Fleet Street Parramatta
Cost: $5 per person
Your Comment
It's good to see an interest in our history and tours like this help to keep the story alive.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7712) 603 days ago
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