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Rare architectural plan of the Female Factory Parramatta dated 1841. The plan shows the remodelling of the 1821 Female Factory which was built in 1796 at Parramatta. The plan features only those revisions to the original design around 1839-1840 drawn … Read Full Description
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Orders over A$300
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Rare architectural plan of the Female Factory Parramatta dated 1841.
The plan shows the remodelling of the 1821 Female Factory which was built in 1796 at Parramatta.
The plan features only those revisions to the original design around 1839-1840 drawn by Royal Engineer H.H. Lugard. Those revisions involved the construction of a set of solitary cells. This was probably due to increasing convict unrest as a result of massive overcrowding at the Parramatta facility. Alexander Maconochie, a penal reformer far ahead of his times, who had in March 1840 taken up the appointment as commandant of the penal colony on Norfolk Island, then a brutally run gulag, used the updated plans of the Parramatta Female Factory that provided correction through solitary confinement to support his own proposal for a similarly designed prison on Norfolk Island. Major George Barney in his letter to the Colonial Secretary dated Feb. 20, 1840 compares both maps in terms of costs to support Maconochie in his endeavour before the British House of Commons
Sections on map:
Side elevation of the 72 cells 72 and Elevation of the Keeper’s House.
Ground Floorplan of the 36 cells and Keeper’s House, ground floor.
1st & 2nd floor’s cells, 18 of each and the upper floor of the Keeper’s House.
Transverse section through a range of cells erected at the Female Factory, Parramatta.
Alexander Maconochie (11 February 1787 – 25 October 1860) was a Scottish naval officer, geographer, and penal reformer. In 1840, Maconochie became the Governor of Norfolk Island, a prison island where convicts were treated with severe brutality and were seen as lost causes. Upon reaching the island, Maconochie immediately instituted policies that restored dignity to prisoners, achieving remarkable success in prisoner rehabilitation. These policies were well in advance of their time and Maconochie was politically undermined. His ideas would be largely ignored and forgotten, only to be readopted as the basis of modern penal systems over a century later in the mid- to late 20th century.
According to his biographer John Barry, Maconochie “was a deeply religious man, of generous and compassionate temperament, and convinced of the dignity of man”. His two basic principles of penology were that: as cruelty debases both the victim and society, punishment should not be vindictive but should aim at the reform of the convict to observe social constraints, and a convict’s imprisonment should consist of task, not time sentences, with release depending on the performance of a measurable amount of labour. Following the Molesworth committee’s report, transportation to New South Wales was abolished in 1840, although it continued to other colonies. Disturbed at reports of conditions on Norfolk Island, Lord Normanby, Secretary of State for the Colonies, suggested that a new system should be used, and the superintendence given to an officer deeply concerned with the moral welfare of the convicts. Maconochie was recommended to put this new system in place. In March 1840 he took up duties as commandant of the penal settlement at Norfolk Island and applied his penal principles. Convicts were awarded ‘marks’ to encourage effort and thrift. Sentences were served in stages, each increasing in responsibility. Cruel punishments and degrading conditions were reduced, and convicts’ sense of dignity was respected. Perhaps the fact that he had experienced the life of a prisoner himself played a part in his approach to his task. He was the only commandant with such an experience. These views contrasted greatly with the cruel conditions that had existed on Norfolk Island prior to Maconochie’s arrival. He was not permitted to apply his principles to the 1,200 hardened twice-sentenced convicts, but only to the 600 newcomers sent directly from the United Kingdom and who were separated from the ‘Old Hands’. His ‘mark’ system was not permitted to reduce a convict’s sentence, and it was difficult to find other incentives. His reforms were resisted by military guards, supervisors and constables (many of whom were ex-convicts) under his command. In particular, his deputy held views opposite to his own. In an exclusively male environment, he found he was unable to reduce the ‘unnatural offence’ of sodomy which was prevalent and which he continued to punish by flogging. Criticism of his methods in Sydney and England led Governor Sir George Gipps to visit the island in 1843. He was favourably impressed with the condition of the convicts and the effectiveness of the ‘marks’ system, and reported that Maconochie’s System of Moral Reform could work if carried through to its conclusion. However the order had already been given in the United Kingdom for Maconochie to be replaced. Under the commandants who followed him, Norfolk Island reverted to being an object of terror under brutal masters. Almost 1,400 convicts had been discharged during Maconochie’s term, and he always claimed that a high percentage did not offend again. He is known as the “Father of Parole”.
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