Parramatta Female Factory gets national heritage status from Josh Frydenberg

Years of hard work and persistence have finally paid off for the Parramatta Female Factory Friends.

Federal environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has given the Parramatta Female Factory precinct in North Parramatta its long overdue national heritage status.

There was talk a decision was imminent at Monday night’s Parramatta Council meeting, where Greens councillor Phil Bradley’s motion to write to the minister about the pending status was adopted.

Opened 1818, the Parramatta Female Factory as Australia’s first female convict site. This was the first destination for the majority of convict women sent to colonial Sydney and many Australians are descended from these resilient women.

After the Female Factory’s closure, the Precinct housed a Roman Catholic Orphan School and then the Parramatta Industrial Girls School in various forms until 1974. The last institution on site, the Norma Parker Correctional Centre, closed in 2008.

“The Precinct is highly valued for its heritage importance by the local, state and national community and this National Heritage listing will allow the Australian community to stand witness to the lives and experiences of women and children who lived there,” Mr Frydenberg said 

“It will become Australia’s 113th National Heritage place and share the status and protection of other National Heritage places in New South Wales which help define who we are as a nation, such the Old Government House and Government Domain, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the North Head of Sydney Harbour.”

Federal Parramatta MP Julie Owens welcomed the news.

“Many people in the community have been fighting for this for a long time,” she said.

“The community understands how important the site is but to achieve recognition at a Federal level is an important step in protecting the site against over development.”

State Parramatta MP Geoff Lee has been championing for this site, since first elected in 2011. 

“This announcement brings a renewed focus on the importance of this precinct and its unique place in our history,” he said.

“I am delighted that more than $310 million will be invested in this precinct over the next 7-10 years. The NSW government is working hard, through its investment and continued efforts on site to make this Australia’s best and most sustainable heritage precinct, for future generations.”

Parramatta Female Factory Friends president Gay Hendricksen is “over the moon”and will now up the ante of the group’s campaign for a world heritage status.

More community reaction in Thursday’s edition of the Parramatta Sun.