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New era begins at Cascades Female Factory


A new era has begun at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site in South Hobart with the appointment of a new site manager.

Julie Henderson commenced this month in the newly-created role, and looks forward to working with the existing volunteers at the Female Factory and the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA), which is assuming management responsibility for the World-Heritage listed convict heritage site.

Ms Henderson comes to the role with a wide range of experience in government, tourism hospitality and education and small business. She has previously held roles with the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, Tourism NSW and the Tasmanian Government.

“I am really looking forward to working with the volunteers and with the Authority to take this extraordinarily important World Heritage listed site to the level in its journey from women’s prison to major heritage site and tourism attraction,” Ms Henderson said.

“Port Arthur is famous for its stories of convicts, but that is really only the male side of the story. More than 5,000 women convicts are known to have spent time at the Female Factory, in addition to many babies and children.”

“These are stories that need to be much more widely known and appreciated.”

The appointment follows the announcement by Premier Lara Giddings in April that PAHSMA was being charged with managing the site, in addition to its other sites at Port Arthur and the Coal Mines near Saltwater River.

PAHSMA CEO Stephen Large reiterated the Premier’s praise of the outgoing Female Factory Historic Site Limited, and in particular outgoing Chair Peter Rae AO and Shirley McCarron AM.

“Their drive and determination has seen the site move from neglected industrial site to World Heritage property,” Mr Large said.

“Shirley and her team of volunteers have done an extraordinary job.

“Shirley will continue to have an interest and association with the site through its charitable foundation and events, but is stepping back from her long-standing daily operational role, which Julie is now taking on.

“Julie will coordinate with PAHSMA’s team to bring our depth of expertise in both heritage conservation and tourism to the Female Factory over coming months and years, and further developing the visitor experiences we can offer there.”