ERA is working with Liminal Architecture, Snøhetta and Rush Wright Associates for the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority 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 subject site is part of the broader Cascades Female Factory Historic Site (the historic site), which has been managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) since 2011.

The historic site 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 is 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.

(Image credit: Liminal Architecture)