A female gaol

[Episode 21 | 1808 : Sarah]

Sarah is punished after she introduces herself to some local Aboriginal people. After she accidentally breaks a plate while doing the dishes, Alice blackmails Sarah into taking her outside.


The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [1]

Activity 1: The Parramatta female factory
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Historical events; Politics

The Parramatta Female Factory, a 'special gaol for women and girls', was established in 1821. It replaced Australia's first female factory, the 'factory above the gaol', which was also located in Parramatta, and it was designed to accommodate up to 300 women, combining elements of a prison, a factory and a workhouse. During its history, the precinct of the Parramatta Female Factory has accommodated an asylum, an orphanage, a girls' home and a women's prison. The precinct is located in present day Fleet Street, Parramatta, NSW, and a campaign has been launched to list the area as a National Heritage site.

  • Ask students to research the history of the use of the site of the Parramatta Female Factory. Students can create a timeline of the use of the site. Students can conduct research in the school or local library, or online. As a starting point, teachers can refer to the resources listed below:
  1. Free Settler or Felon?, 'Parramatta Female Factory', http://www.jenwilletts.com/female_factory_parramatta.htm
  2. Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, http://www.parragirls.org.au/

  • Ask students to pretend they are addressing a committee formed to decide whether the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct in Fleet Street, Parramatta, should be designated a National Heritage site. In small groups, they must create a short presentation, accompanied by PowerPoint slides or a poster, explaining the historical importance of the site and why the committee should support National Heritage listing.


Student Activity Sheet H21.4: The Parramatta Female Factory