Cascades Female Factory Visitor Centre Planning approval
ERA was engaged by Liminal Architecture, Snøhetta and Rush Wright Associates for the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) to seek the relevant approvals for the new visitor centre at the Cascades Female Factory. The proposed design for the visitor centre is the result of an international design competition.
The site is part of the broader Cascades Female Factory Historic Site (the historic site), which has been managed by PAHSMA since 2011 and is one of 11 convict sites that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. At the time of this inscription, the World Heritage Committee requested that consideration be given to removing the ‘anachronistic structures or constructions’ and to ‘consolidating the perimeter walls’ at the Cascades Female Factory and envisaged that improved interpretation and visitor facilities would be provided. PAHSMA recognises the need to have a History and Interpretation Centre befitting the significance of the historic site and reflective of the activities that occurred there.
The planning assessment was made complicated by the surrounding residential setting and the unusual residential zoning of the site, even though it has been maintained as a historic site over a significant period of time. Additionally, as a World Heritage property with State Heritage listing, Commonwealth and State heritage approvals are also required. Approvals were sought and granted by the City of Hobart and associated heritage bodies. In addition, funding has been received from both the Tasmanian and Australian governments for the project, which opened to the public on 26 March 2022.