Parramatta Female Factory Site- State Assylum Today.

The Female Factory site closed in 1848, the area was then used by the Parramatta Asylum, these sandstone buildings some from 1821, 1870, remain intact, some very shabby, the buildings are under management of the NSW State Government on behalf of the Australian people, most of the ones who have been occupied are still  the home of NSW Health. Have only shown a few buildings in this complex.Photographs courtesy of Gregory Davis.

Former Matron's Quarters & "lying In" (maternity) Rooms of the Female Factory, south facade. 

This is one of the original surviving buildings of the Female Factory designed by Francis Greenway and built 1818-21. The building stood on the northern side of the eastern axial approach to the Main Barracks of the Female Factory. This building has had alterations, some less than sympathetic. The second floor was added in 1855 as staff accommodation, the intrusive addition on the southern facade, the verandah and bay windows were added c. 1910. It was used as the hospital payroll services for many years before being leased by the Statehealth Credit Union in the late 1980s. It has been vacant since 2015. 

Former Main Kitchen - south facade. 

The Main Kitchen was the first Parramatta Asylum building designed by the Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon in 1892. It was designed to blend in with the earlier sandstone buildings that it abutted and those that surrounded the site. Vernon did however include an "Arts and Crafts" feature into the south facade of the building in the form of small relief columns around the high front windows. The Kitchen features a huge cavernous space internally that extends from the floor to the clerestory on top - it is one of the largest of its kind in N.S.W. At its rear it abuts the 1876 "Spinal Range" (a long building that several wards and structures are both connected to and divided by it). At its east side it included dormitories of Former Male Ward 2 upstairs and staff amenities downstairs. The intrusive additions at the front from the 1950s are built over the former Butcher's Shop of the Asylum . It is believed that an original Female Factory remnant wall that once separated the Second Class Womens' yard from the First Class Yard is incorporated into the eastern side of the building. The Kitchen closed in the mid 1990s and has been used as storage space for the Area Health Service. 


Sisters of Charity Memorial.  

An important chapter of the history of nursing in New South Wales is associated with the Factory. A party of Catholic nuns arrived in the colony from Dublin on the last day of 1838 aboard the brig Francis Spaight. These “Irish Sisters of Charity” were trained nurses and were assigned to the Female Factory, where for the next nine years they consoled and taught “the unfortunate inmates.”  The nuns also provided care to women who were “lying in” as the Factory had already acquired the role as a maternity service. In this group of nuns was Sister Baptist De Lacy, who later went on to establish Australia’s first private hospital St Vincent’s (Darlinghurst) in 1857. The plinth is a memorial erected by the Sisters of Charity to this first group of nuns in 1998. Behind the memorial is the north face of the southern perimeter wall of the the Female Factory is the last surviving remnant of the original Female Factory perimeter wall constructed 1818-21. Evidence of an earlier structure abutting the wall can be seen which was noted as a "wash house' in the 1880 plan of the Asylum. It may represent a Female Factory building added after the opening of the institution in 1821 when it was quickly realised that the architect Francis Greenway had neglected to include such necessities as ablution facilities. A series of small buildings had to be constructed for "useful purposes" against the interior perimeter walls to address the problem. 

Door Gipp's Yard and Dead House

7: Male Ward 1. Tower on north-east corner of the building. 

The tower was designed by James Barnett for a specific purpose, to house the Female Factory clock mechanism that had once been installed in the gable of the Female Factory Main Barracks. This clock mechanism was one of five gifted to the colony by King George IV to celebrate his Ascension to the Throne following the death fo his father George III (the "Mad King") in 1820. The clock mechanism is engraved "Thwaites and Reed, Clerkenwell, London 1821." It was obviously thought important enough in 1885 to be preserved very close to its original placement. The bell in the tower is dated 1820 and would also have been preserved from the demolition of the Factory Main Barracks. In the lower left corner of the image is a bell on a stand. This is often taken to be the Female Factory bell, but was in fact installed as the asylum's emergency bell in 1886.

Male Ward 5 south, the Boiler Room & Main Kitchen.  

This view north-east shows Male Ward 5 South, the small Boiler House that once served the Main Kitchen and the Main Kitchen. All these were constructed in the late 1880s.

3rd Class Sleeping Quarters original Female Factory 1821.

Male Ward 1, east facade.  

Male Ward 1 was designed by the Government Architect James Barnett and constructed in 1885-86 with design input from the first Inspector General of the Insane Dr Frederic Norton Manning. It was built to replace the Female Factory Main Barracks which as a prison had long been deemed as unsuitable for the care of the mentally ill. The ward accommodated male patients who were not dangerous, not prone to absconding or of questionable or ant-social behaviours. It was closed as a ward in early 1976 and soon afterwards leased to a non-government roganisation (NGO) to accommodate homeless men and renamed "Hope Hostel". In 1990 it was decided to not renew the lease which created some controversy which was not quelled until another building was gifted to the NGO. In 1994 Male Ward 1 was renovated to become the N.S.W.

Institute of Psychiatry - a statutory authority providing advanced education and courses for mental health care professionals.

Male Ward 1 Dining Hall.  

Designed by the Government Architect James Barnett it was built 1885-86 over the site of a small building that had once been at the rear of the Female Factory Main Barracks , it served as the dining room for patients of Male Ward 1 until early 1976.  It features a clerestory on its roof that admitted natural light and ventilation into the room. It is currently used by the N.S.W. Institute of Psychiatry as the main lecture room.  

Male Ward 5 South Range. 

This is the south facade of at the western end of Male Ward 5 south range. Built in the late 1880s, it stands over the foundations of an earlier Female Factory building and once provided Day and Dining rooms for Male Ward 5. At its' western end is an annex constructed from rubble sandstone salvaged from Female Factory building and built probably with patient labour. The building and its neighbours were built over the southern boundary that separated the original Third Class Womens'

(Penitentiary) Yard  from the Main Barracks of the Female Factory. The covered porch was a later addition of c. 1900-1910 and in spite of pleas to protect it from years of neglect, it has now collapsed completely.

The ward closed in the late 1960s and was then used for storage for many years. It has been unoccupied since about 1995.

South End of the "Ha Ha." 

This is the southern end of the "Ha Ha" or dry ditch/moat of the former Ward 5 yard. The Ha Ha sloped into a ditch corresponding to the slope of the wall to a depth of about three metres where it joined a wall that extended north to former Male Ward 4. It was considered innovative at the time of its building in c. 1890 as it secured the yard from escape whilst allowing patients a view beyond the river to the Asylum's farmlands and later to the Wistaria gardens. It was filled with rubbish and old iron bedsteads in the early 1960s and then covered with soil and lawn sown over. The Ha Ha was constructed where the western perimeter wall of the Female Factory's Penitentiary of c. 1825 once stood, the yard of Male Ward 5 generally corresponding with the Penitentiary's yard.