In recognition of almost 13,000 convict women
and more than 2,000 free children who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land from 1803 to
1853, the first of four statues has recently been unveiled in Degraves Street, South
Hobart adjacent to the Cascades Female Factory.
Modelled on a direct descendent of Martha
Gregory, who was transported from England for seven years for ‘stealing printed
cotton in a dwelling house,’ the statue represents not only the plight of
convict women, but especially convict mothers.
From the Shadows spokesperson, Dr Dianne
Snowden, said the women who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land were sent to the
Cascades Female Factory or a similar institution, while their children were
sent to the bleak and miserable Orphan Schools at New Town.
“In all, nearly 6,000 children, mostly the
children of convicts, were admitted to the Orphan Schools from 1828 to 1879,”
Dr Snowden said.
“These women and children were real people,
with real stories to tell.
“It is heartening that now their stories are slowly
being told, with the unveiling of the first of four statues, created by
internationally-renowned Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie.”
Dr Snowden said the statue adjacent to the
Female Factory in Degraves Street, South Hobart, will see a second one inside
the facility, while a further two will be at the State heritage-listed Orphan
School Buildings at New Town.
“The new statues complement
previous works created by Rowan Gillespie, including his famous Famine statues
in Dublin, his Toronto migration statues, and Footsteps towards Freedom statues
in Hobart,” Dr Snowden said.
“As an arts project, From
the Shadows promotes reflection and connection to the historic
landscape for locals and visitors alike. The statues will contribute to
Hobart’s existing international artistic reputation.”
Some $220,000 has been raised as part of the
project with funds from the Federal Government of $100,000, State
Government support of $10,000, $45,000 from the Port Arthur Historic
Site Management Authority and support from the Federal Group and other
details can be found at www.fromtheshadows.org.au