There are many sites in Australia where the past has been suppressed, especially when it comes to sites associated with the lives of women who did not fit the foundational vision of mateship promoted in Australia. One such place, which forms the focus of this article, is the former Female Factory site at Ross in Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land). Unlike other female convict sites in Australia, such as the Parramatta Female Factory, which remain relatively intact, virtually nothing remains of the Female Factory at Ross, which operated from 1847 to 1854.The only building left standing at the Ross site is a Victorian cottage which originally housed the staff of the Female Factory. The Factory buildings at Ross were torn apart in the late nineteenth century in an effort to conceal the past and assuage the embarrassing fact that most Tasmanians were descended from convicts, a feeling that became known as ‘the convict stain’. At the turn of the twentieth century there was very little indication that a Female Factory ever existed at Ross. The deliberate erasure of the past at Ross is problematic for those who wish to remember the convict women of the Factory and imagine how they lived their lives within the Factory walls. In this article I analyse an artistic response to acknowledging and commemorating the women of the Ross Female Factory by Australian photographer Anne Ferran.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2014|