Quarantine Station North Head

Six OFF members and their guests participated on a field trip to Quarantine Station on North Head on Sunday 23 September. It was a glorious spring day which coincided with the 10th Birthday of the Q Station’s new chapter. There were free history tours, stalls, entertainment, and various ‘mock’ re-enactments of historical events.

The complex operated as a quarantine station from 14 August 1832 to 29 February 1984. The concept behind its establishment was that, as an island-nation, the Colony of New South Wales, as it then was, was susceptible to ship-borne disease. Those who might have an infectious disease would be kept in quarantine until it was considered safe to release them. The importance and future role of North Head was reinforced by Governor Darling’s Quarantine Act of 1832, which set aside the whole of North Head for quarantine purposes in response to the 1829–51 cholera pandemic in Europe

The area has three main groups of buildings:

  • the wharf and foreshore buildings such as: the disinfection and sower blocks, the Gas Chamber, the Museum, Café/Kiosk etc. at Quarantine Beach.

  • the hospital and isolation group, and

  • the buildings on the upper grassy slopes, with extensive views, grassy cleared areas around these groups, delineated by bushland remnants and regrowth.

One of the most historic features of the quarantine station is the series of engravings along the escarpment adjacent to the jetty. The carvings were executed by people staying at the quarantine station, and cover an extensive period that stretched from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. SEE MORE…


In 2008, Australia’s longest continuously operating quarantine station began a new chapter in its history, termed Adaptive Reuse & Heritage Conservation, and opening as Q Station. Home to a hotel, conference centre, and restaurant complex, a beautiful harbourside destination for families, corporate groups and the community at large to enjoy and explore. It remains part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.



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