North Head Quarantine Station

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The Hospital, Boiler House and Wharf at Quarantine Station, with humpback whales passing by

The North Head Quarantine Station is a series of heritage-listed buildings on the north side of Sydney Harbour at North Head, near Manly, a suburb of Sydney in Australia. It is now part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.[1]

Description and history[edit]

The complex operated as a quarantine station from 14 August 1832 to 29 February 1984. The idea behind it was that anyone arriving in the colony (as it then was) who might have an infectious disease would be kept in quarantine until it was considered safe to release them.

The station is now home to a hotel, conference centre, and restaurant complex known as Q Station,[2] and remains part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. One of the early quarantine officers was Dr James Stuart, a keen naturalist and talented painter. For many years Percy Nolan, an alderman and mayor of Manly, pushed for the removal of the Quarantine Station from Manly and called for its use as public open space. Over sixty years later, this far-sighted proposal became a reality.[3]

In the 1960s and 70s, the officer then in charge of the Quarantine Station, Herb Lavaring BEM (1917–1998), took it upon himself to preserve and compile a museum of artifacts and other items of note and significance to the station's operations, including domestic implements, medical instruments, and hand tools for tasks ranging from blacksmithing to building construction. Lavaring collected these materials over the period 1963–1975 and also commenced restoration work on the diverse range of rock carvings and headstones from the major burial grounds. The items collected by Lavaring were preserved, and many have since found their way into state and federal collections, including the National Museum in Canberra, where a muzzle-loading rifle and a set of manacles are preserved (the latter being used to ensure that no one left the station without medical clearance).


  • Quarantine Station : Sydney Harbour National Park Conservation Plan, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service 1997 printing
  • Quarantine Station : Sydney Harbour National Park Open Day booklet 1999, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Quarantine : Counting the Costs, Health, Journal of the Australian Department of Health, Volume 25, Number 1, March 1975, pages 31–35.
  1. ^ Walks in the Sydney Harbour National Park, Neil Paton (Kangaroo Press) 1987, pp.32-34 ISBN 0-86417-130-7
  2. ^ Q Station Homepage
  3. ^ "QUARANTINE STATION.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 31 May 1923. p. 9. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°48′53″S 151°17′17″E / 33.8148°S 151.2881°E / -33.8148; 151.2881