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Sir Richard Bourke to Lord Glenelg

Government House, 10 Septr., 1836.

My Lord,
       As does not now appear to be the intention of His Majestry's Government to discontinue the transportation of Female Convicts to this Colony, and as, by the frequent arrivals of Female Emigrants, the demand for Convicts for private service become much less, I have thought it necessary to place upon an Establishment more suited to its present numbers the Prison, or Factory as it is here called, in which all Female Convicts are detained when not in assigned service, or married to Residents in the Colony, or possessing the indulgence of a Ticket of Leave. By perusing the accompanying weekly state, your Lordship will percieve the numbers which are now usually assembled in the Factory at Parramatta.

       The management of this Place of confinement has hitherto been confided to a Matron aided by the occasional inspection of a Committee of Gentlemen including the Chaplain and Surgeon. The Committee of Ladies, concerning whom your Lordship has enquired in your Despatch of the 5th Feby. last, No. 106, did not long continue to act. Before my arrival here they had ceased to exist as a body. Hence the discipline of the place, which never was good, became relaxed, and a reform in the Institution was evidently required. I despaired of being able to accomplish any of the objects noticed in your Lordship's Despatch to which I have referred, or those contemplated by Mr. Spring Rice in his communication of the 4th September, 1834, until a better organization was introduced.  Complaints made by the Committee of the misconduct of the family of the Matron residing with her within the walls determined me no longer to delay an attempt to place the Prison upon a better footing. I have accordingly, from the 1st of the present month, appointed a married couple, with whose behaviour in other situations of trust I had reason to be fully satisfied, to be keeper and matron, and have allowed a number of Turnkeys, Male and Female, sufficient to exercise a vigilant control over the Prisoners. Labor from the most criminal and refractory class is to be obtained to a greater extent than heretofore by breaking stones for the Roads and Streets of Parramatta, and suitable occupation for the better conducted women will be obtained as far as circumstances permit. A School will be opened in the Prison, and the instruction and employment of these outcast women will, I hope, be occasionally superintended by the Committee of Ladies, which I hope to recognise under the influence of a circular from Mrs. Fry, which I have caused to be distributed wherever I thought it would be well received.
      These arrangements will necessarily be productive of encreased expence, but there was no alternative between expence and the mischief and discredit of an ill-conducted Prison. I transmit a Return of the present and of the former establishment. I should add that, as the late Matron was discharged without any blame attaching to her personally (her removal being required to make room for the married couple who take the offices of Keeper and Matron), I have thought it right to allow her one year's salary after a service of nine. I trust these arrangements will answer the purpose I design, and may meet with your Lordship's approbation and allowance.

I have, &c.,

[Enclosure No. 1]

EXTRACT from New South Wales Government Gazette of Wednesday, 7 September, 1836.
State of the Female Factory, Paramatta, on the 3rd day of September, 1936.

Under Colonial Sentence 273
In Solitary Confinement 5
Confined by order of the Keeper 0
Nursing Children 108
Old and Infirm 23
Monitresses, Servants and Cooks 22
In Hospital 22
Sick in Factory 8
Assigned, waiting to be withdrawn 15
Number assignable 114
         Total number of Women 590
Children under one vear 68
Ditto under two years 32
Ditto under three years 34
         Total number of Children 134
Thomas Bell,  Keeper.

[Enclosure No. 2.]

RETURN of the Establishment of the Female Factory, Parramatta, with the alterations
made on the appointment of a Keeper with his Wife as Matron.

Establishment as formerly authorised
   £  s. d 
1 Matron 150.0.0 
1 Assistant 50.0.0 
1 Portress 50.0.0 
1 Midwife 50.0.0 
6 Monitresses at 12 2s. 4d.each 73.0.0 
1 Constable 41.1.6 
1 Gate Keeper 41.1.6 
1 Storekeeper 109.7.0 
1 Clerk 91.5.0 
1 Chaplain 50.0.0 

Establishment authorised from 1st September, 1836
1 Keeper 200 
1 Matron 100 
3 Turnkeys (Male) at £60 each 180 
4 Turnkeys (Female) 50 each 200 
1 Clerk * 120 
1 Midwife 50 
1 Chaplain 50 
1 Roman Catholic Chaplain 50 
1 School Master (or Mistress) 50 

       * It is proposed that the Clerk with his augmentation of salary shall perform the duties of the storekeeper, who is discontinued from the 1st October, up to the time both Clerk and Storekeeper are paid according to the former establishment. The constable at 1s. 3d. a day was also retained up to that date.

Source: Historical Records of Australia, Series I, Vol. 18, pp. 533-34.