Long overdue!

Hooray: Judith Dunn, Phil Bradley, Linda Bradley, Kerry Martin, Shirley Moore, Beth Mathews and Audrey Meisenhelter. Picture: Geoff Jones
Hooray: Judith Dunn, Phil Bradley, Linda Bradley, Kerry Martin, Shirley Moore, Beth Mathews and Audrey Meisenhelter. Picture: Geoff Jones

The long wait is finally over for the Parramatta Female Factory’s potential national heritage status.

On Tuesday, federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg gave the green light for Australia’s earliest female convict site to become the country’s 113th national heritage listed site.

It’s been a long time coming for the Parramatta Female Factory Friends.

“It shows what a small community group can do,” president Gay Hendricksen said. “With so many other distractions for the federal government at the moment, we didn’t expect a decision so soon. The federal government has recognised the national significance of the site. It’s a vital step towards the next step, which is world heritage status.”

Opened in 1818, Parramatta Female Factory was Australia’s first female convict site. As many as one in five Australians can claim “female factory woman” ancestry. “These women were the silent resolution,” Ms Hendricksen said.

“They instilled in their children and their children’s children values that are part of Australia’s identity today.”

On the eve of the announcement, the talk in the Parramatta Council chamber was that it was imminent while discussing councillor Phil Bradley’s motion to write to the minister regarding his pending decision.

“Cascades Female Factory in Hobart got its national heritage status in 2010,” Cr Bradley said. “Our site is older and far more superior.”

Earlier, UrbanGrowth NSW chief executive Barry Mann addressed the chamber to express support for the national heritage listing, which Cr Bradley welcomed.

Parramatta Female Factory Friends currently has 5000 signatures in support of its campaign for a world heritage status listing. Ms Henricksen also wants the site to be turned into a living museum of a national identity.

“The site deserves it, those women deserve it, as does the community,” she said.

Go to parramattafemalefactoryfriends.com.au to sign the online petition.