Situated in Fleet St North Parramatta the historic Parramatta Female Factory Precinct is the location of Australia's first purpose built convict Female Factory and Roman Catholic Orphan School.

Both institutions have been re-purposed over time with the Female Factory proclaimed a Lunatic Asylum in 1847 and now operating as Cumberland Hospital, and the Roman Catholic Orphan School as the Girls Industrial School (Parramatta Girls Home) from 1887 until 1974, and later as Kamballa and the Norma Parker Detention Centre. An estimated 1 in 5 Australians are descended from the former occupants of the Precinct's institutions.

Built on the traditional lands of the Burramattagal clan of the Darug Nation, these sites are Australia's most significant source of social memory with regard to the institutionalisation and incarceration of women and children. 

Since 2006, Parragirls-Parramatta Female Factory Precinct has promoted awareness about the Precinct's history, heritage and legacy and sought its preservation and memorialisation as Australia's first Site of Conscience.

PARRAMATTA INVALID & LUNATIC ASYLUM  from 1847 now Cumberland Hospital.


Friday 20 Nov 2015. Minister for Planning Rob Stokes announced the gov will go ahead with the renewal of North Parramatta with a committed $100 million set aside for the restoration of the historic buildings and preparation of the site more

National Heritage Listing - On 31 July 2015 the Australian Government is pleased to announce the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct in Western Sydney will be assessed for possible inclusion on the National Heritage List. media release

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Hundreds of former residents of the Parramatta Girls Home have given testimony to the Royal Commission on the abuse the suffered while in the care of the State at the Parramatta Girls Home and the Hay Girls Institution..more


Parallels in the lives of convict women and the recent experiences of wards of the state. The Parramatta Female Factory Precinct housed orphans, convict women, girls at risk and those in need of psychiatric care. Parragirls campaign for the precinct to be preserved, with hopes to regenerate the neglected buildings into a cultural centre inspired by Cascades Female Factory Historic Site.

Filmed by Collections Australia Network.

Imagine you're standing in a place surrounded by high walls that seems familiar, yet is not:

A place set apart, where you're alone and yet you are not..

In front of you is a gate, it's closed and bolted; is there anyway out?

Turning, one, two, three, four, five, again and again the gate appears...

Slowly you realise you're in a place, that exists between past and present.

A place inhabited by memories , a place you can never leave. 

Female Factory Gate 1 is one of 5 short films each representing an institution of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct.


Who were the Female Factory Women? Where did they come from? Who else is associated with this site?


Children of the Orphanage & the Girls Home


Settlement, Factory Above the Gaol


Links to Listings & Registers


contact register & support network for Parramatta Girls Home


Links to records for Convicts, Asylum, Orphanage, Parramatta Girls Home


a social history & contemporary art project bringing together artists, historians, academics & Parragirls to document, record & interpret the history and heritage of the site and the institutional experience.