What was the life of a female convict really like?

Case Study Overview


Students are involved in a detailed investigation of the Ross Female Factory site in Tasmania. They ‘become’ archaeologists and find a variety of objects relating to convict life. They then have to draw on a variety of other sources of evidence to help them ‘interrogate’ and interpret each object, and to discover what it tells them about convict life and conditions.

An interactive entitled, Digging up the past — archaeological dig at the site of a female convict factory, is also available for this case study. The case study has recently been upgraded to a new HTML iPad friendly version.

Case Study unit of work inquiry structure (pdf)

  • Activity 1 Introducing archaeology
  • Activity 2 Video visit
  • Activity 3 Creating your hypothesis page
  • Activity 4 Mapping the area
  • Activity 5 What was life like for the female prisoners?
  • Activity 6 Using archaeological evidence
  • Activity 7 Reflections and presentations
  • Activity 8 Digging up the past — interactive game

About the Interactive

Digging up the past — archaeological dig at the site of a female convict factory
You are at the site of the Female Factory at Ross, Tasmania. Your task is to carry out an archaeological dig of the site to recover objects that tell us about the life of female prisoners. Your search can tell us much about our history – if you are skilled enough to make good decisions!

For Primary & Secondary Students

• The Australian Colonies

• Movement of Peoples

Case Study Resources

  • Teacher Guide
  • Print Resources (PDF)
  • Interactive
  • High Quality Video
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