There are female murderers, a female bushranger and even some women who had injustices. It's a whole raft of talesZoe Whiting
The untold stories of the women who passed through Maitland Gaol will be unlocked during an afternoon tea later this month.
Service delivery officer Zoe Whiting said the one-day event, Tea and Reformation, aimed to raise awareness about the gaol's history of women.
"Tea and Reformation came from the idea that the women's stories are really forgotten in the gaol's history because people often don't realise there were women incarcerated here," she said.
"We also looked at the bartering system and rations. We got caught up in the idea that tea was issued to women but not men.
"So we thought it was a nice way to tie together an afternoon event to tell the stories about the gaol's female inmates.
"We have focused on five female stories. We've got women who have had injustices done to them, a female bushranger and female murderers.
"It's a whole raft of stories that will be told. It's an opportunity to come along, have a cup of tea and indulge in stories that have been long since forgotten."
As part of the afternoon tea, a selection of female stories will be brought to life by Maitland High School drama students through multimedia and performance.
The five performances will showcase a variety of historic tales including the story of Mary Ann Burton and Sarah Keep.
They were a mother-daughter duo who were imprisoned for allegedly poisoning Ms Keep's husband.
Maitland High drama teacher Ashlea Ross said the students had spent four months preparing for the performance - which is part of their Higher School Certificate curriculum.
"It's been really exciting. It's been a bit out of our comfort zone but we have pulled it off and it's going to be great," she said.
"We researched the women and started play building, putting their stories into scenes and bringing them to life."
The performance will showcase the work of 14 students.
Ms Ross added it had also been a great opportunity for the students to learn about local history.
"They [the students] have given so much of their time and taken direction really well," she said.
"Their confidence throughout this process has really grown. Now they are sharing their ideas. It's been really collaborative."
Tea and Reformation will be held on Saturday, August 17 at Maitland Gaol from 2pm. The cost is $15 per person including the performance and tea. Tickets are on sale via maitlandticketing.com.au/maitlandgaol.