It’s a tough place to visit, but not when compared with what it must have been to be a convict there. Although many of the buildings are shells, they still hold a powerful sense of the past and the occupants.
This was a window in the chapel of the ‘other prison’ (I think that was it) where convicts attended weekly services. They were led in individually, to stand up in a upright-coffin shaped space where they could only look forward, not at any other convicts. Not that they were allowed to talk anyway and all the convicts had to wear sacking masks when outside their cells so they remained anonymous. 23 hours a day they were in their cells, silently working on making brooms, or shoes or other projects. They were identified by numbers never names. The floor had matting and they wore soft foot covering so even their walking was silent.
If they misbehaved, they spent time in solitary confinement cell … which was completely dark and silent. This is what it looked like … yup … like nothing. I did close the door, but didn’t stay very long at all.
The government gardens, were magnificent with an added benefit for visitors to Pt Arthur (it was quite the social place apparently) that it blocked off any view of the prison buildings.
How’s the size of this bee? Enormous!
This is a metallic sculpture inspired by the Rajah quilt. It’s at the Cascades Female Factory. The centre panel includes names of the Rajah convicts, some of whom worked on the quilt.
There are few buildings left of the Cascades Female Factory, but a dramatic enactment gave us some idea of what life was like for the women locked up here.
The markings on the ground here are the dimensions of the cells, where supposedly recalcitrant women spent time. They worked while in these cells, removing tar from rope so it could be reused. This section of the prison was low-lying and often damp or downright wet.
If misbehaviour continued, a woman might wear an iron neck piece 24 hours a day for up to 7 days.
Last day and we visited MONA. I found it fabulous and not a little overwhelming. A lunch break and some time watching these two adolescent peacocks helped to balance the day. Then I headed back in to see some more before heading to the airport and home.