– a site-specific event in the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct


*para meaning: at or to one side of, beside, side by side, beyond, past, by, beside, closely related, closely resembling, beyond, abnormal, faulty.

dance: Victoria Hunt, Linda Luke, & Tess de Quincey
vocals & sound: Sonya Holowell
sound composition: Ben Carey
lighting installation: Sian James-Holland
video projection: Samuel James
costume design: Melanie Liertz
videographer:  Martin Fox
camera: Denis Beaubois
concept & direction: Tess de Quincey
production management: Gordon Rymer with Jeremy Ainsworth, Kiara Smith, James Sutherland, Angela Tran

In 2020 and 2021 De Quincey Co is working in partnership with artist Bonney Djuric and the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct (Parragirls) to develop and present a site-specific performance work in the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct located on the upper reaches of the Parramatta River on the traditional lands of Darug Burramattagal people.

The precinct has been an institutional site since 1821 as a convict female factory, then a lunatic asylum, an orphan school, a girls home and a women’s prison. It has particular significance for the Forgotten Australians and the Stolen Generations as the birthplace of interventionist welfare policy with the first forced removal of children from their mothers introduced in 1826.




The live work is a calling to the spaces and histories that reverberate throughout the place; an inhabitation, an absorption that opens doors through time. From the history that lives in the ancient Bunya trees that are a relic of the Jurassic period, to the specific marks that call our attention to a person who scratched their name, defying incarceration and punishment; from the water that flows parallel to the wall of confinement calling escape, to the brick mortar made of the hair of convict women; from the birthing space beyond the wall and the bats that protect the space awaiting the return of the women, to the marks and the ghosts and the riots that punctuated internment; from a place of punishment to a place of healing and sharing, a place to celebrate 60,000 years Darug land, and to trace lineage and intergenerational exchange of this women’s place.

This is a pilgrimage into sensitivities, to touch and be touched by the meeting of salt-water and fresh-water – to be held captive in Australia’s first ‘site of conscience’.

We hope to present the live work in late 2021 or 2022. Meanwhile videographer Martin Fox will be producing a suite of discrete video works to be screened in 2021.