The Launceston Female Factory opened in 1834 as the first purpose-built institution for convict women in Van Diemen’s Land.
By 1842 more than 320 women and children were crammed into the buildings with predictable consequences for order, hygiene and infant mortality.
Riots were not uncommon.
Over a twenty year period, the Launceston Female Factory housed thousands of women and children but despite the appalling conditions resourceful women created social spaces for dancing and singing – and drinking.
Edited by Lucy Frost and Alice Meredith Hodgson – 2011; Paperback