Women's Prison

Close enough for comfort

Women convicts baking bread

Women were housed in separate prisons called Female Factories. Image: Life in Convict Brisbane, Department of Education, 1983.

Women convicts were housed separately in Brisbane, in what was known as a Female Factory, located in Queen Street, at the site of the present GPO. Officers continually took liberties, visiting the women at night. These forbidden fraternisations intensely annoyed the penal colony’s Commandant, Captain Foster Fyans. He took to personally guarding the Female Factory at night. The more troublesome women were gradually transferred to the abandoned Agricultural Establishment at Eagle Farm, which, at a distance of eight kilometres by land, was at least remote from the main population.

The farm itself had been afflicted with crop failures, floods, drought, and outbreaks of malaria. By 1837 all Moreton Bay’s women prisoners had been moved to Eagle Farm. The Agricultural Establishment had survived in a much reduced form. Existing buildings were adapted and new ones built. Superintendent Parker’s 7-room cottage, where he lived with his wife, was the most substantial building. Its walls were plastered inside and out.

The remains of the Superintendent’s Quarters, still exist at the TradeCoast Central Heritage Park, uncovered by archaeological digs at the Eagle Farm site.  

87 Schneider Road EAGLE FARM QLD 4009

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