Quarantine Station How has it changed over time?

The quarantine station at North Head is a place where some people stayed when they arrived in Australia from another country. It was like a hospital. People stayed here so that they didn't spread germs.

The first ship to be quarantined in Spring Cove was the convict ship the Bussorah Merchant for an outbreak of smallpox during the long voyage from England.

This is the Visitor Centre

People couldn't swim away because it was too far.

This is the wharf where the boats are tied up when they arrive.

What does "quarantine" mean?

Quarantine is defined as ‘strict isolation designed to prevent the spread of disease’. Quarantine stations were created when necessary in Europe’s ports so that vessels suspected of carrying infectious diseases could be isolated for the duration of the quarantine. The origins of the word quarantine come from the Italian quaranta (i.e. quaranta giorni) which is forty and relates to initial period of quarantine of 40 days during the fourteenth century. At North Head the period of quarantine varied depending on the incubation time of the disease.


Created with images by Sydney Heritage - "North Head Quarantine Station c.1828" • jimbowen0306 - "Arriving at Manly Quarantine Station" • bigyahu - "Quarantine Station beach from my kayak" • mapryan - "The landing pier at the old Quarantine Station in Sydney Harbour"

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