The Parramatta Female Factory in the 1820s

Governor Darling placed the Weaving Establishment at Parramatta under the control of a Civil Engineer in 1826, as follows:

The Master Manufacturer, his assistant and Hackler of Flax will discontinue their attendance at the Female Factory and be exclusively attached to the Engineer’s Department.
The wool and flax must be stored in the Lumber Yard and there picked, hackled and in every way prepared for the spinning wheel. In this state they will be supplied to the Matron of the Female Factory in order that they may be converted by the women into yarn and thread. The cloth, when manufactured, must be washed and dried in any situation, removed from the Factory, which may be convenient. It will then be stored in the Lumber Yard until the termination of each quarter when it must be handed over to the Commissariat Department, the officer in charge of which will give a receipt for the quantity to the Assistant Engineer.
The Weaving Establishment will consist of:
1 Master Manufacturer
2 Men to each Woollen Loom
4 Men to every 3 Linen Looms
The weavers and their attendants will work until 4 o’clock and as an encouragement to their industry, will be rewarded according to the following scale – Woollen Cloth – each loom must furnish 48 yards per week. For every yard exceeding, 4 pence will be given.
Linen Cloth – each loom must furnish 15 yards per week and for every yard exceeded, 10 and a half pence.
Cheesecloth – each loom must furnish 30 yards per week and for every yard exceeded, 6 pence will be allowed.
The Master Manufacturer will render an account to the Assistant Engineer every Saturday of the cloth made during the week and will receive the rewards upon the gross exceeds of each description of cloth to distribute to the weavers.

In another part of this minute, the following appears:

As an encouragement to industry, the women will be remunerated for their spinning as follows:
For 7 cuts per Diem, ½ penny (a cut was 70 yds yarn)
For 9 cuts per Diem, 1 penny
For 10 cuts per Diem, 1½ penny
For 12 cuts per Diem, 3 penny

Reproduced from our Journal Volume XXXIIV and researched by EP Geoff Gohl. It will be seen from the above that spinning has never been a very lucrative pastime.

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