Children of two or three years were taken from their mothers and taken to the orphanage some distance away, and most never saw them again, Agnes said. Babies stayed with their mothers until they were weaned at six months, and then were taken to the nursery, where they were fed the same food as the adults, so most of them died.
The child mortality rate was very high, with two thirds of all children dying. Women who were available to be assigned as servants to free settlers had no choice about their masters or their treatment by them and often fell pregnant, Agnes said.
This was considered a crime as it was regared as immoral to fall pregnant out of wedlock, whatever the circumstances, so they ended up back in the Female Factory.
Rules and regulations at the Cascades Female Factor
One such woman was heard to say she wished she had never had her baby, and when the child died shortly after, as most did, she was hanged for its murder, Agnes said.
Mitigating circumstances or state of mind were not taken into consideration at all, she said.
New arrivals to the Factory undressed in front of the matron. Their old clothes burnt and possessions removed, they were then classified according to previous behaviour. The worst, those branded 'crime' class, were subject to a poor diet, isolation and a yellow 'C' sewn onto their petticoats. A classification system operated across the entire penal establishment.
Crime or 3rd Class prisoners were judged the worst and set to hard labour, Assignable or 1st Class prisoners were the best and awaited assignment, and 2nd Class prisoners were those working their way up from 3rd to 1st class, or whose crimes were of a minor nature, or who were pregnant.
First, or assignable, class women were assigned to work for settlers in exchange for board and clothing as long as they remained obedient to their new masters and mistresses. Failure to obey meant a return to the Female Factory, solitary confinement, a diet of bread and water, and sometimes an iron collar.
Heritage tours operate seven days a week at 10am, noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm in all weathers at 16 Degraves St South Hobart Tasmania. Duration about 45 minutes.
Hobart Historic Tours lives up to its name
GoSeeAustralia's Agnes and Nick love Salamanca Place and Battery Point Hobart.
The first European settlement in the Hobart area began in 1803 as a penal colony and defensive outpost at Risdon Cove on the eastern shores of the Derwent River. So guided experiences like Hobart Historic Tours has plenty of history to work with.
Hobart is second only to Sydney in the depth of its convict and colonial heritage and specific tours like Hobart Historic Walk give an introduction to the character of Australia's early settlement. The tour is an easy walk and is wheelchair accessible.
Hobart is a city defined by its geographical position, history and heritage. Classical examples of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture abound throughout the city. The one an a half hour tour starts at the Hobart Travel Centre, cnr. Davey and Elizabeth Sts, Hobart.
Battery Point is unique in Australia and world famous for its authenticity. The Tour includes St George's Church and Arthur Circus. Named in honour of Govenor Arthur, the quirky Arthur Circus is a particular example of early colonial architecture.
Between Kellys Steps and Hampden Road, Arthur Circus is a circle of old, single frontage cottages dating from the earliest days of Old Hobart Town. This hour and half guided historic experience starts at Kelly's steps in Salamanca Place. This narrow flight of steps joins Salamanca Place to Kelly Street in Battery Point.
Then in a step back to a murky underworld past the Old Hobart Pub Tour explores a time of brothels, smugglers, convicts and grog. This tour, which starts from the Hobart Travel Centre, is not recommended for children. The Old Hobart Pub Tour is suitable only for smaller groups, due to the small size of the pubs themselves, Hobart Historic Tours says.