An Albanese Labor Government will immediately begin the process to submit for the Parramatta Female Factory to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage Australian Convict Sites listing.
It is the oldest and largest convict women’s site in Australia and is significant to Australian history, particularly of women and girls. It is globally significant for the same reason.
Twenty per cent of Australians are descended from women who were housed, incarcerated or institutionalised on the site over its 200-year history under white settlement.
The Burramattagal clan of the Darug nation, from which Parramatta gets its name, had marked the site as women’s place generations earlier.
Recently, a strong community campaign helped stop the NSW State Government from building thousands of apartments next to the Parramatta Female Factory precinct.
Putting the Female Factory on the World Heritage List will strengthen and ensure the heritage site is protected and retained for generations to come.
“The community has been advocating for World Heritage Listing for the Parramatta Female Factory for years, and Labor is determined to see this site added to the list,” Mr Charlton said.
“World Heritage Listing will bring a greater appreciation of the site’s importance to Australia’s history. It will honour the memories of those who passed through these doors and reinforce the building’s unique place in the history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and girls in Australia”.
Gay Hendriksen, President of the Parramatta Female Factory Friends, welcomed the announcement.
“The Parramatta Female Factory Friends have been the lead community group advocating for world heritage for the site since 2011. With the support of Julie Owens, we tabled a petition in the Federal Parliament of some 11,000 signatures.”
“We commend this commitment by Andrew Charlton and fully support any action to ensure world Heritage Status.”
Donna Davis, Lord Mayor of the City of Parramatta also welcomed the announcement.
“Parramatta Female Factory is one of the most historically and culturally significant sites in Australia, so it’s vital we do whatever we can to protect this piece of women’s history.”
“It’s promising to see that an Albanese Labor Government will support the World Heritage listing of the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions precinct. This needs to happen now.
“As a long-time advocate for the protection and restoration of the Parramatta Female Factory I welcome this announcement to support the World Heritage Listing.”
“Parramatta Female Factory is the most intact of the surviving convict era ‘factories’ in Australia, and tells an important story during a difficult period of our country’s history.”
Suzette Meade, Secretary of the North Parramatta Resident Action Group welcomed the announcement.
“Much of Parramatta’s history and heritage is disappearing,” Ms Meade said. “We have recently seen the demolition of the important Willow Grove Victorian Italian Villa. The protection of UNESCO World Heritage listing will ensure that the Female Factory is protected from the vagaries of future governments”
The site houses the former Parramatta Girls Home where thousands of orphans and state wards were locked up from 1887 to 1974, including many stolen generations children.
Tens of thousands of women and children passed through the doors of the collection of buildings housed at the Parramatta Female Factory site and suffered great hardship.
It is an extraordinary site with a rich but tragic history. It’s significance in Australia’s convict history ought to be remembered.
Only an Albanese Labor Government will protect Australia’s important heritage sites like the Parramatta Female Factory.