Report on Female Factory, 1 June 1832

ASSIGNED FEMALE SERVANTS

The Committee of Management of the Female Factory have observed, with great regret, how speedily a portion of the female convicts assigned from the ship, on their arrival from Europe, are returned to Government, and sent to the Factory at Parramatta. It has fallen within their observation, that, in many cases, those persons have been returned for awkwardness or misbehaviour which, in free servants, would be noticed by a gentle reproof. The facility with which an assigned servant may be returned to Government has, doubtless, favoured the injurious practice of which the Committee complain. To remedy it, in some measure, the Committee are authorised, by his Excellency the Governor, to require, in future, that all persons receiving female servants, on assignment, shall enter into an engagement, under a penalty of forty shillings, to keep them for one month in their service, unless removed therefrom by due course of law, and if at the expiration of that period, they shall desire to return their servants, they will be bound (if residing in any part of the County of Cumberland) to leave a written notice at the office of the Principal Superintendent of Convicts in Sydney, and to retain the servant for fourteen days from the service of that notice. Persons residing without the County of Cumberland, will be required to give one month’s notice to the Clerk of the Bench of Magistrates nearest their residence. This time is required to enable the Principal Superintendent of Convicts and Committee to make arrangements for the transfer of the female to another service without being sent to the factory.

In assigning the females recently arrived in the Burrell, the Governor has been pleased to direct, that the distance of the applicants from Sydney shall be considered as giving a priority of claim, it being in His Excellency’s opinion, an object of great importance to remove and retain these criminal women, as far as possible, from Sydney.

The Committee take this opportunity of stating their readiness, at all times, to assign any female in the Factory, not under a Colonial sentence of imprisonment, to persons of good moral character; and if the supply of those women, whose conduct offers a fair chance of their becoming useful servants, should at any time be unequal to the demand, the Committee would willingly assign those of whose conduct it would, at the same time, be their duty to make an unfavourable report.

It might happen that virtuous example and regular habits in a private family would operate more powerfully in reclaiming an individual from vice than the most judicious regulations when applied to numbers in a public establishment. For reasons somewhat similar, and from having observed the change which new modes of life, and the accession of new duties, sometimes operate in the character and disposition, the Committee are at all times disposed to favour the marriage of those women to persons in circumstances to maintain them honestly.

Female Factory, Parramatta

May 29th, 1832

S. MARSDEN

M. ANDERSON

S. WRIGHT

It is request that all applications for female servants from the Factory be addressed in future, to the Committee of Management at Parramatta.

See Original:Assigned Female Servants,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824 – 1848), Friday 1 June 1832, p.2