Discovery Sunday; Q Station, Sydney

Discovery Sunday is an idea focused around visiting an unexplored part of your own city. Often, we travel to other places to experience new things, when so many options exist on our own doorstep. This week’s expedition was to Q Station, the decommissioned Quarantine Station near Manly in Sydney.

Meeting friends, we boarded the Ferry at Circular Quay, taking one of the worlds best harbour cruises. The journey begins well with blue skies and calm waters. Arriving at Manly Wharf, we are welcomed by a pleasing piece of modernist architecture (the signage is especially lovely) and several upscale restaurants.

Five minutes walk to the beach and Sydney is basking in a magnificent winters day. 20-degree temperatures mean there is swimming and snorkelling as we pass the pool and head towards Shelly Beach. The roughly three kilometres (each way) hike to Q Station is an easy one on treelined dirt paths punctuated by views to the horizon. Passing through a small entrance in the sandstone wall, we walked onwards towards the Barracks Precinct before reaching Q Station.

Q Station is a hidden gem established on the shores of North Head. Once the first experience visitors had of Sydney, the quarantine station met visitors arriving from long ship journeys. Hygiene and poor nutrition on board meant a large number of people died on their way to Sydney with many more dying upon arrival. The quarantine station provided an essential service to both those arriving who needed medical assistance and to those of the established colony.

The visitor centre’s collection comprises thousands of artefacts unique to North Head Quarantine Station as you learn about the passengers’ journey to Australia and the many horrific diseases they were exposed to on those journeys.

On the way back, we dined at The Boatshed before boarding the fast ferry home. All-in-all, this was a great day out mixing, good food, friendship, history, exercise and a ferry ride on Sydney Harbour.