New Cascades Female Factory History and Interpretation Centre Finalists Announced

Photo Courtesy: PAHSMA

Four architectural firms have been shortlisted in the architectural design competition for a new History and Interpretation Centre at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site in South Hobart.

The competition called for an architectural design that will celebrate the significance and values of the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory and the contribution of convict women throughout the history of colonial Australia to the present day.

Of the approximately 50 expressions of interest received, around 20 were invited to put forward their designs. The four shortlisted firms are WelshMajor (NSW); Hector Abrahams Architects with Neeson Murcutt (NSW); Aileen Sage Architects with Jean Rice Architects (NSW); and Liminal Studio (TAS) with Snøhetta (International).

Chair of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management and jury for the competition, Professor Sharon Sullivan, said a new centre will provide visitors with more opportunities to engage with the multitude of stories and complex layered history of the site.

“The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site is a Tasmanian Tourism award-winning experience and one of the 11 Australian Convict World Heritage Sites. It is absolutely critical that we maintain the remaining fabric of the historic site and that we interpret it the best way we can to ensure that the stories and contribution of these convict women are not lost, and that their achievements are understood,” said Professor Sullivan.

The shortlisted firms will present their final designs to the jury in October. The winning design will be one which best embodies the principles, objectives and philosophy of the project and engages with the extant fabric and heritage values of the site. 

The design will be the cornerstone of a $3 million dollar fundraising campaign led by high profile women, all of whom have been first in their fields, including the first female Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Julia Gillard AC; former Federal MP, the Hon Fran Bailey; former Premier of Tasmania, the Hon Lara Giddings MP; and Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, the Hon Elise Archer MP.

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