The design competition for the Cascades Female Factory History and Interpretation Centre Design Competition seeks to foster female leadership and participation. Get your EOI in now!


The three-stage competition is for a History and Interpretation Centre for the World Heritage–listed Cascades Female Factory in Hobart, Tasmania. The competition seeks a design that celebrates the significance and values of the site and recognises the contribution that convict women have made to the shaping of our nation from colonial Australia to the present day.

The organisers aim to foster female leadership and participation in the project, in accordance with the historic and social values of the site and the social significance of the new centre. Competition entrants will be required to demonstrate leadership in, and strong demonstrable commitment to, resourcing the project with a significant proportion of female participation.

The project objective is described as follows:

The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site is one of the 11 sites listed as part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. The Factory is a place where a unique but largely forgotten part of Australia’s history is honoured. From 1828 the Factory operated as a place of work, punishment and shelter for Convict Women. After the transportation of convicts to Tasmanian ended in 1853, the Cascades Female Factory continued to be used as a prison, and later as a depot for the poor, the insane, and as a hospital. Today, all that remains of the original five yards that made up the Factory are impressive sections of wall, the Matron’s Quarter and extensive archaeological material. This is the only remaining female factory in the world with substantial visible fabric. The development of an Interpretation and History Centre within this significant heritage site is intended to be a contemporary and sympathetic response to the profound history of the site on which it stands. The Centre will be a tangible recognition of the role of convict women in Australia’s history. It will house an extensive database, records and data and will provide exciting, interactive teaching opportunities for school students, as well as events and exhibitions for domestic and international tourists. Most importantly, the new History and Interpretation Centre will enshrine the legacy of convict women, not only in a way that befits the site’s status on the World Heritage List, but through the acknowledgement of their endeavours which have laid the social, cultural and political foundations that we take for granted today.

Key dates

Closing date for Registration and Expression of Interest: 2pm, AEST 5 April 2017.


Full information online here.

  • Professor Sharon Sullivan AO FAHA, Chair of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority Board (chair)
  • Catherine Baudet, Architect LFRAIA, recipient of the inaugural Australian Institute of Architects Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize.
  • Janet Carding, Director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
  • Justine Clark, Writer, critic and researcher and editor of Parlour: women, equity and architecture. Member of Design Review Panel for South Australian Office for Design and Architecture
  • Shelley Penn, Architect LFRAIA, Hon NZIA, Hon AIA, Hon RAIC, member of the Victorian Design Review Panel and the Capital City Design Review Panel in South Australia, Adjunct Professor at Monash University and Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne, past National President of the AIA, past Deputy Chair of the Heritage Council of Victoria and past Associate Victorian Government Architect
  • Penelope Evatt Seidler, AM, Architect LFRAIA, Director of Harry Seidler and Associates, member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art and member of UNSW’s Faculty of the Built Environment advisory council