The Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct is the location of  the Parramatta Female Factory and the Roman Catholic Orphan School.

Covering an area of approximately 7.3ha in Fleet Street North Parramatta, this institutional precinct demonstrates how colonial and state governments chose to address the perceived problem of vulnerable women, children and people with a mental health condition.

The legacy of penal approaches to caring for vulnerable people, initiated in the Female Factory, persisted throughout the life of the precinct, in the way in which children lives were regulated in the Orphan and Girls Schools. 


Thursday 9 July 1818 
Went up to Parramatta early this morning in the Carriage accompanied by Major Antill. — After Breakfast went to the Place Selected for Building the Factory and Barrack for the Female Convicts on the Left Bank of the Parramatta River – where I met Mr. Greenway the Govt. Architect and the Contractors Messrs. Watkins & Payten – and at 12,O'Clock laid the Foundation Stone of this New Building in the usual Form; giving the Workmen Four Gallons of spirits to drink Success to the Building. Source: Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Archive


Parramatta Female Factory

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

Parramatta Invalid & Lunatic Asylum

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

Roman Catholic Orphan School (RCOS)

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

Parramatta Girls Home

In 1887 the orphanage was re-purposed as Parramatta Girls Home (Industrial School)...more

About Us

Parramatta Female Factory Precinct (Parragirls) Assoc was established in 2006 to promote awareness about the history, heritage and legacy of this historic institutional precinct and to provide a contact register for former occupants and descendants of these historic institutions. 

In 2012 we launched the PFFP Memory Project - a social history and contemporary art project connecting past to present and memory to action in establishing this historic precinct as Australia's first site of conscience.

getting there

Public Transport:

A free shuttle bus leaves from Parramatta Station or Rivercat Wharf every 10 minutes. Alight at Parramatta Leagues Club for the short walk to Fleet Street via Fennell Street. 

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: