Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Quarantine Station

For years I have taken the ferry to Manly and off to the east as the ferry passes the opening to the sea, you can see a collection of buildings on the North Head. These are part of the old Quarantine Station.

When each ship arrived in the Harbour they were obliged to stop first at the wharf of the Quarantine Station so that the passengers could be inspected for infectious diseases. As you might imagine on crowded ships, any infectious disease would spread quickly and it was quite common for a number of people to die on the long voyage.

If there was any disease, the entire group of people on board would be kept at the station until cleared for mixing with the general population.

We parked at the entrance, picked up a map and followed a group of school children into the station. The station operated until 1984 so this was the first time I had ever visited the place.

Immediately you begin to see wonderful views of the Harbour.

They are known as the Toilet Rolls. To the left of them is a Manly Ferry.

The Station has been taken over by a hotel group and you can stay in many of the buildings. It's a great way to use the buildings for their original purpose as accommodation. Hopefully you are not disease ridden when you arrive.

This building is now used as a restaurant.

Covered walkways to stop guests getting wet.

The Australian Navy puts to sea. The world quivers and quakes.

Each room gets its bit of private veranda. They cost close to AU$200 per night but the views are fabulous and it is all very peaceful and quiet.

An interesting way to use the dividers between the rooms.

There used to be more of these cairns but I think this is the only one left. I cannot remember what they were used for but Marianne thinks they denoted the boundaries of the station.

Fortunately the buildings come from an era when a bunch of buildings would have the same architecture. Notice that they are raised off the ground so that breezes could blow away the bad airs.

This could be your view in thee morning when you wake up. 

Lounge area for guests.

The kitchen as it used to be.

Now that is a refrigerator.

Another view of the lounge.

A games area and pub known as the Carpenter's Arms.

At one time there used to be a railway where luggage could be brought up the hill from the wharf. It has now been converted into stairs.

Buildings for processing the passengers as they got off their ships. The building in the foreground had showers. More about them later.

Another restaurant.

Learning to sail.

The local beach.

The wharf where the passengers disembarked. A private ferry still uses this wharf.

Old railway tracks.

It became a tradition for inscriptions marking the stay of the quarantined vessels.

The initial area next to the wharf where passengers were first examined.

Out on the wharf.

As usual, crystal clear water, fresh from the ocean.

Male toilet. You go in looking young and virile and come out looking like that.


Water storage for the showers.

An exhibition of schoolboy art. I did not linger.

All passengers and crew were showered on arrival. A weak mix of carbolic acid was added to the water which affected the skin of some people.

Path back up to the upper part of the station.

The shower building. To the left was another building with autoclaves that were used to fumigate passenger's luggage.

This building burned down but was restored because of its historical significance.

It now seems to be used for conferences.

The story of the fire.

By the way, this colour was often used to paint Australian schools.

We reckoned that the Station needs a full-time archivist and that this should be the building to house the archivist. Did you know our daughter Robin is an archivist? She could live at the Toilet Roll and walk to work.

Path up to the Isolation Ward.

There are a lot more buildings at the Station than I ever suspected.

For those guests who misbehave.

It pays to misbehave because here is the view from the bad guest's lounge.

It's a 180 degree view.

Still more buildings. This area was for third class passengers and Asians. Discrimination against non-whites was common for most of Australian history.

A curious building that does not fit in at all. Notice the walls are lined with corrugated iron as well as the roof.

The block for Asian passengers and crew. The one on the right also was burned and subsequently restored.

Interesting marker erected by passengers from a ship who survived the diseases.

We walked back to the parking lot along a nice shady path through the bush.

This building housed the engine that pulled the luggage up the hill.

I had not anticipated enjoying the visit so much. It's a beautiful and very quiet area with gorgeous views and interesting buildings and things to see. If I were a normal tourist visitor to Sydney I would consider staying here instead of some normal shoe-box hotel that probably would cost more.

Having finished with the Quarantine Station we drove a mile or so to a lookout over the entrance to the Harbour. On the other side of the water is the South Head.

The light-house. We visited that area last year and also in 2013 when a fleet of sailing ships arrived.

The city off in the distance.

The Pacific Ocean in the distance.

I realized that I still have not walked this section of coastline just to the south of the South Head. Next time.