Cascade Female Factory Historic Site

16 Degraves Street, South Hobart


Architect: John Lee Archer (1828), history and interpretation centre concept design by Liminal Architecture with Snøhetta (2017), detailed design development (including interiors and exterior finishes), construction documentation and site administration by MCA Architects.

Once a self-contained, purpose-built institution intended to reform female convicts, the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory tells the story of the displacement, mistreatment and forced migration of convict women and girls. Sitting beneath the shadow of kunanyi/Mount Wellington, it is one of 11 sites that comprise the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. Here, the inmates were compelled to undertake duties such as spinning, weaving, sewing and laundering, offsetting some of the Colony’s penal costs. From the 25,000 female convicts transported to Australia, approximately 7,000 of these women passed through the gates of the Cascades Female Factory.
In 2017, a national architectural design competition was held for the design of a new History and Interpretation Centre at the significant site. LIMINAL Architecture and collaborators Snøhetta and Rush Wright Associates developed the winning design, which interprets and presents the stories that have shaped the Cascades Female Factory and development of the colony.

Liminal Architecture and Snøhetto’s proposed design concept, which comprises a holistic and integrated architectural and landscape design, is a powerful reminder of the struggle between light and dark, imprisonment and liberty, punishment and reform, threat and opportunity, horror and hope. The team presented the opportunity to celebrate the historic significance of the site and the contribution convict women made to colonial Australia through the interpretation of architecture integrated with landscape.’

Read more about the Liminal Architecture with Snøhetta concept here.

Detailed design development (including interiors and exterior finishes), construction documentation and site administration by MCA Architects. Please see their website for more details.

Tours: Saturday 12 November, 9.30 am, 10.30 am, 1.30 pm

Duration: 50 minutes


South Hobart

Building Types



Architectural Periods


Contemporary (2001-current)



History of Hobart

New to Program

Suitable for Children


Level Changes

Uneven Surfaces

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