Whilst in Sydney, we had a family lunch at the Q station. Now a restaurant and hotel in the old quarantine station on Sydney’s North Head.
Britain had been sending convicts to North America but in 1783 the newly formed United States refused to accept any more. So Britain decided to establish a new penal colony in New South Wales, land claimed for Britain by James Cook on his first voyage in 1770.
The First Fleet sailed in between the Heads of Port Jackson on 26th January 1788, as their original destination of Botany Bay was unsuitable. Port Jackson offered deep waters and sheltered coves, such as Sydney cove, where the first settlement was established.
From the 1830’s until 1984, passengers that arrived in Sydney on migrant ships with suspected contagious diseases on board where placed in quarantine. The site at North Head was ideal for the quarantine station as it was the first safe anchorage point inside the heads, it was a safe distance from the centre of Sydney and sufficiently isolated, and it had a local water supply from natural springs.
A history of the ships quarantined here are engraved on the cliff walls. The hospital buildings, the boiler house and the wharf still remain today as testament to the success of protecting Sydney from influenza, tuberculosis and other disease. The station accommodation at the time was split into first class, second class and third class. Generally, people were held here for forty days before begin released to settle into Australia.
Our lunch meal was delicious with a fascinating slice of history thrown in and a sunset view of Sydney city skyline and harbour from North Head.