Australia's first purpose built Female Factory and Orphanage for Catholic children are the foundational institutions that constitute the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct.

Located in Fleet Street North Parramatta this historic Precinct was once the destination of all unassigned convict women sent to the colony of New South Wales. It is also the birthplace of Australia's interventionist welfare system where in the Rules & Regulations of the Female Factory children upon reaching 3 years of age were to be removed from their convict mothers and placed in Orphan Schools.


14 November 2017.

Today the Australian Government announced that the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutional Precinct was inscribed as a National Heritage site. First nominated by Parragirls founder Bonney Djuric in November 2011, this announcement recognises the significance of this Precinct as a leading example of a site which demonstrates Australia's social welfare history over two centuries. From 1821 until 2008, the Precinct was the site of state run institutions which sought to provide care for women and children. In particular the Precinct provides a record of how women and children as a class had a distinct experience of 'benevolent' institutions, where the purpose and promise of care was far from the reality.

Government attempts to safeguard those women and children, including Indigenous children of the Stolen Generations, were consistently limited by paternalism and poor treatment. The institutions of this Precinct were places where many women and children suffered greatly under the authority of those who were meant to care for and protect them. Recognising the history of this Precinct allows Australians to remember and serve witness to these women, their children and the children of later generations who experienced institutional or out-of-home care, known as the Forgotten Australians, Child Migrants and Stolen Generations - a recognition that they were not afforded while confined to the Precinct's Institutions.

Caution: If you have found any material on this webpage distressing, assistance can be found by contacting RESPECT 1800 737 732, or other services listed at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.


Parramatta Female Factory

Australia's first purpose built institution for female convicts operated from 1821 until 1847.

Invalid & Lunatic Asylum

In 1847 the Female Factory was re-purposed as an Invalid & Lunatic Asylum, now operating as Cumberland Hospital. 

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Roman Catholic Orphan School

Australia's first purpose built orphanage for Catholic children operated from 1844 until 1886.

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Parramatta Girls Industrial School

In 1887 RCOS was re-purposed as Parramatta Girls Industrial School - the principal child welfare institution for girls in NSW from 1886 until 1974.

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PFFP Memory Project brings together artists, historians, academics and former residents in  a social history and contemporary art project to explore, interpret and document the history, heritage, experience and legacy the Parramatta Female Factory Precincts' historic institutions and to activate it as Australia's first Site of Conscience.

"Connecting past to present and memory to action"


Parragirls is a support network and contact register established in 2006 for Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations of the Parramatta Girls Home. We provide information on how to obtain your welfare files and records, support services, open days and social activities, the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, and consultations with the NSW Government on the Parramatta Girls Home Memorial.

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Precinct NEWS

Parramatta North Urban Transformation

In 2014 the NSW Government announced plans for Parramatta North Urban Transformation which would see new hi rise residential and commercial development at the precinct, the preservation of the 19th century Female Factory - Asylum and Roman Catholic Orphan School - Girls Training School and the demolition of most 20th century institutional buildings and structures.

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Parramatta Girls Home Memorial

In November 2014, the Minister for Family and Community Services (FACS) announced that a memorial would be built at the Parramatta Girls’ Home site to acknowledge the women who experienced abuse as children at the home. FACS is committed to building a place of remembrance and reflection for former residents, their families, as well as the wider community.


Public Transport:

A free shuttle bus leaves from Parramatta Station or Rivercat Wharf every 10 minutes. Alight at Parramatta Leagues Club and then proceed to Fennel  and Fleet Streets. 

ADvice for visitors

The historic buildings of the Precinct are not open for public access and there are no public facilities for visitors. Most of the historic buildings can be seen from Fleet St.

Download a site map here: