Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site | Environment, land and water | Queensland Government

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Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site

  • 600186
  • 116 Lamington Avenue, Eagle Farm


Also known as
Eagle Farm Womens Prison; Eagle Farm Agricultural Establishment
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
7 February 2005
Law/order, immigration, customs, quarantine: Female factory
1.2 Peopling places: Migration from outside and within
2.4 Exploiting, utilising and transforming the land: Agricultural activities
6.1 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Establishing settlements and towns
7.1 Maintaining order: Policing and maintaining law and order
Construction period
1830–1839, Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site (1830 - 1839)
Historical period
1824–1841 Convict settlement


116 Lamington Avenue, Eagle Farm
Brisbane City Council
-27.42600402, 153.08859427


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site is significant as one of few sites surviving in Brisbane from the convict period and a remnant of only seven sites associated with secondary punishment in Australia. Further, the Women's Prison and Factory Site is one of even fewer sites, both in Brisbane and in the national context, associated specifically with female felons.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

The Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site is significant as one of the earliest sites of building activity in Queensland, initial construction having occurred within 5 years of the establishment of the settlement of Brisbane Town.

Criterion CThe place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Queensland’s history.

The Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site has potential to reveal substrata evidence of a number of factors including the administration of the convict system in the final years of transportation, the confinement and punishment of female convicts, building materials and construction technology and artefacts associated with the activities, occupations and social status of groups and individuals.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

The establishment of the Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site is associated with early historical figures such as New South Wales Governor, Darling and Commandant Logan.


In September 1829 Commandant Patrick Logan of the Moreton Bay penal settlement founded a secondary agricultural establishment approximately eight miles from the town, at Eagle Farm. One hundred and fifty men were deployed to clear the site, and by January 1832 about 680 acres (272.5 hectares) were under cultivation with mostly maize and some potatoes, some cattle and pigs were also being raised.

Working so near the Eagle Farm swamp caused a noticeable increase in malaria amongst the convicts, but despite calls for its abandonment, the farm was maintained. By 1836, 768 acres (307.2 hectares) had been cleared, but no more than 46 acres (16.4 hectares) were under cultivation.

Female convicts are recorded at Eagle Farm from 1830, and by 1836 there were forty. Stationing female felons at Eagle Farm was an attempt to reduce fraternisation between the women and male convicts and the military, the latter being forbidden to cross the bridge at Breakfast Creek. Despite these precautions, assignations were frequent. By the end of June 1836 the construction of strong slab cells at Eagle Farm was considered necessary. In 1837 all female prisoners in Brisbane Town were removed to Eagle Farm. By November 1838 the decision had been taken to abandon the Moreton Bay penal settlement.

By March 1839 the Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory consisted of a Supervisor's cottage with walls plastered internally and externally, with detached slab kitchen at rear. A two-roomed hut occupied by male convicts and two-roomed hut serving as matron's quarters, with another room under construction and a slab kitchen at rear. All were slab buildings including the Female Factory which comprised a number of four-roomed accommodation buildings; a store, a school, a hospital (plastered) and workhouse, each of one room; a two-roomed building housing the cook house and needle room; and a block of six cells. The area was surrounded by a double fence, the outer being a stockade of strut poles with sharp tops, 17 feet (5.2 metres) high, 320 feet (97 metres) long and 311 feet (94 metres) deep.

By July 1839, however, all the female convicts had been removed and Eagle Farm was virtually abandoned, although it was still functioning as a government cattle station in 1841.

In 1842 the land was surveyed, put up for public auction and subsequently farmed. The buildings were demolished at an unknown date.

The area was associated with civil aviation from 1922, and was covered with a fill of variable depth during construction of a major air base at Eagle Farm in 1942. Brisbane Airport operated here from 1948 until 1988.

The site remains one of only six surviving in Brisbane from the convict period, with the former Moreton Bay penal settlement being one of only seven sites in Australia associated with secondary punishment.


The old Eagle Farm airport, of which the site of the former Eagle Farm convict settlement form part, is bounded on the south by Lamington Avenue and the Pinkenba Railway, to the east by Viola Place, to the west by the Gateway Arterial Road, to the north-west by a drainage channel and to the north-east by Lomandra Drive and Cassia Place. The land in the centre of the area is now flat and featureless, apart from remnant structures from WWII and the remains of runways from the post-war development of the airport.

Virtually none of the old airport area exists as it did prior to European settlement. Only the foundations of the Eagle Farm Settlement survive. During the construction of the Brisbane Airport in WWII, the site was covered with a variable depth of fill.

Image gallery


Location of Eagle Farm Women's Prison and Factory Site within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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