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Quarantine Station Manly

Home > Sydney > Accommodation | Day Trips | Escape the City | Historic Houses | Long Weekend
by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the Fishing Monthly Group and Australian Fishing Network. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published April 1st 2015
For a number of years now I have sat on the veranda of my sister-in-law and partners place and marvelled at the size of some of the boats that pull up and anchor in the areas of Collins Flat, Little Manly Cove, Store and Quarantine Beaches to while away the time swimming, snorkelling and just watching the world go by.

Our view of the Quarantine Station.
On public holidays and weekends it can get a bit crowded at Store and Quarantine Beaches.

It was just of late that we once again paid a visit to what we have named the Manly Hilton to spend the weekend and as I sat there once again marvelling at the size of some of the boats that we decided to go for a walk over to Quarantine Head and have a look around the place as I had heard so much about what you could do there.

Call in here to get your up todate information on the Quarantine Station and self guided maps.

I would suggest that before you visit the Quarantine Station at Manly you click on the link below that will take you on an 18 minute virtual tour of the Quarantine Station and what it has on offer.

Click here for the Virtual Tour.

The North Head Quarantine Station was used from the 1830's to isolate people suspected to be carrying contagious diseases such as Spanish Influenza, Smallpox or Bubonic Plague. This strict quarantine was enforced in the hope that these deadly diseases would not reach the general population in Sydney.

Smallpox
The Bubonic Plague.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO THERE?

1. Go on a guided daytime history tour.
2. Go for a lantern lit walk on one of our famous night ghost or paranormal tours.
3. Stay for a while in their hotel accommodation.
4. Grab a hot coffee, snack or light meal at the Luggage Store Visitor Centre Cafe.

Great place to stop off and get a coffee at the Luggage Store Visitos Centre Cafe & Museum.

5. Go snorkelling & explore North Harbour Aquatic Reserve from Quarantine Beach.
6. Have lunch or dinner at the Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant & Bar.

You could have lunch or dinner at the Boilerhouse Harbourside Restuarant and Bar.

7. Go for a self guided walk & enjoy the beautiful views.
8. They have an education program or excursions for schools.
9. Take a leisurely swim at Quarantine Beach.
10. Explore their free Quarantine exhibition at the museum.

Step this way for the History at the Museum.
I reckon you could spend the best part of forty minutes in the museum just taking in some of what happend at the Q Station over the years.

11. Hold a conference there.
12. Have your wedding there.
13. Try and spot the wildlife that abounds there headland.

A local Echidna stopped off along our walk to say hello.
I am glad that Leanne didn't spot its mum.

I wouldn't like to met ones of these fellows on the ghost tour at night.

PRIOR TO BEING THE QUARANTINE STATION.

There is little detailed knowledge of the Aboriginal presence on the Manly peninsula and the local clan associated with North Head were the Gayimai. It was also used by the powerful koradgee of the Cameraigal clan for healing and burial ceremonies.

The local Aboriginal communities were the earliest victims of introduced diseases in the colony. Diseases such as smallpox swept through the local Cadigal communities. By 1791 smallpox alone had killed a large proportion of the Aboriginal population around Port Jackson. This disaster could have been prevented or minimised had quarantine processes been in place from the time of the colony's establishment.

WHY HAVE A QUARANTINE STATION HERE?

There were 3 reasons;

1. The site was the first safe anchorage point inside the heads.
2. The site was sufficiently isolated and, at the time, a safe distance from the centre of Sydney.
3. The presence of natural springs to ensure a water supply made the site habitable.

Local water supply.

A TIMELINE FROM WHEN IT WAS FIRST ESTABLISHED TO NOW.

• 1835 to 1838 - Establishment of Sydney's North Head Quarantine Head.
• 1839 to 1872 - Changes in immigration patterns.
• 1873 to 1909 - Development of class definition at the station.
• 1880 to 1909 - Upgrades under the new Board of Health.
• 1910 to 1950 - Changes under the Federal Government.
• 1950 to 1983 - The aviation phase.
• 1984 to 2008 - Reserved as part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.
• 2008 to Now – Tours, walks, dining, wedding & views.

Class accomodation was erected.

Early visitors to the Quarantine Station.
Were they patients or were they doctors? Not quite sure.

As stated earlier in this article there are 13 activities that you could do while visiting the Quarantine Station and while we were there we managed to do 5 of them.

Walking down the stairs to the Boilerhouse was interesting. If you don't like the stairs you can always catch one of the buses down.

• Go for a self guided walk & enjoy the beautiful views.
• Walk through the Quarantine exhibition at the museum.
• Grab a hot coffee at the Luggage Store Visitor Centre Cafe.
• Spot the wildlife that abounds there headland.
• See a wedding take place.

So out of the 8 activities left what would I like to do when I once again visit the Quarantine Station at Manly.

• Go on a guided daytime history tour.

Quarantine Wander (1 hr)
Quarantine Station Heritage.
Quarantine Station Story (2 hrs)
Click here for more information.
There are little hidden treasures as you take on of the guided tours.

• Stay for a while in their hotel accommodation.
This family we met along the way told us they had a great time while staying in one of the cottages.

I reckon it would be great to wake up in some of the onsite accomodation and go for a walk around the site, as I am very sure that you will find many more things on the this unique site. It comes with everything you could want in a getaway and the view that you get from some of the rooms are incredible. You can even enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast at Views, the Quarantine Station's guest restaurant.

While staying there I could also go for a swim at Quarantine Beach or take a short walk around to Store Beach and go for a swim or do a bit of Snorkelling. Maybe even take a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
Click here for more information.

• Have lunch or dinner at the Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant & Bar.

You don't have to be staying in one of the onsite accomodation to have lunch or dinner here. You can drive over and park not far from the restaurant and walk a short distance to still enjoy the views and great views of Manly.
Click here for more information.

WHAT'S LEFT TO DO?

So now out of the 13 activities there are 5 left that you may like to do. To find out more information about each of them all you need to do is click on the activity:

• Go for a lantern lit walk on one of their famous night ghost or paranormal tours.

Go if you want to. But not me. Photo courtesy of the Quarantine Station ghost tours

1. Ghost Trackers.
2. Ghostly Encounters.
3. Extreme Ghost tours.
4. Ghostly Sleep overs.
5. Paranormal Investigation Nights.

• Go snorkelling & explore North Harbour Aquatic Reserve from Quarantine Beach.
• They have Education Program or Excursions for schools.
• Hold a conference there.
• Have your wedding there.

HOW TO GET TO THE QUARANTINE STATION?

You can drive, catch a ride on the bus or on the Eco Ferry. You could even paddle over in a kayak.
Click here for more information.

Passengers waiting to board the Sydney Harbour ECO Hopper.


Paddle over in a kayak.


On my first ever visit to the Quarantine Station we spent the morning walking around the headland on our own little self guided tour. Did I say little? We spent over three hours looking at a number of the exhibitions, peering through windows, watch the Fast Ferry come and go, walk through the museum, have a coffee or two, spot short-beaked echidnas, snakes, parrots, seagulls, a variety of fish species, and spiders, and marvel at the views of Sydney, Middle Harbour and Manly.

There is so much information to take in while over at the Quarantine Station, it may take you a while to get through it all.


There is so much to see and do at the Quarantine station that even our three hour self guided tour didn't do the place justice and due to the fact that we are lucky enough to have accomodation nearby it will be a great place to come over and visit again to go on a guided history tour or maybe stay the night and go out for dinner at the Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant and Bar.
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Why? History, Views, Tours, Accomodation, Dining, Flora and Fauna.
When: All Year round
Phone: (02) 94661551
Where: Manly, NSW
Cost: Free to visit. Various costs for activities that are carried out on site.
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