Investigate infectious disease at the Sydney Quarantine Station

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Join us for a day of talks, tours and short films at the unique Quarantine Station on North Head. Investigate the history of infectious disease in Sydney and learn how medical science is keeping us one sneeze away from the next pandemic.

For over 150 years the Quarantine Station was for many, the beginning of a new life in Australia after making the arduous & lengthy journey from their homelands.

Ships suspected of harbouring people infected with contagious disease such as Spanish Influenza, Smallpox or Bubonic Plague were quarantined here so that these deadly diseases would not reach the general population in Sydney.

On Sunday 24th November join us for a programme of events looking at the history of quarantine and disease –

TALK - Diagnosing deadly diseases: historical medicine in quarantine

Dr Peter Hobbins

Dr Peter Hobbins, University of Sydney


Dr Peter Hobbins is a historian of science, technology and medicine at the University of Sydney. His interests include the histories of medical research, snakebite, aviation medicine and quarantine. Written with two archaeologists, his 2016 book, Stories from the Sandstone: Quarantine Inscriptions from Australia’s Immigrant Past, won the NSW Community and Regional History Prize in the 2017 Premier’s History Awards.

  • This talk is free to attend but advance registration is required. Please register here.

TALK - 1918 Influenza: What Happened Then and Could it Happen Again?

Prof Eddie Holmes

Professor Eddie Holmes, University of Sydney


Professor Eddie Holmes is known for his work on the evolution and emergence of infectious diseases and his research has provided important insights into the emergence of novel infections. He is Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney. Eddie has been awarded the NSW Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering (Biological Sciences) and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society.

  • This talk is free to attend but advance registration is required. Please register here.

TOUR - Wharf Wander

11am and 3pm

Q Station’s Wharf Precinct is the most significant place to understand the arrival process for passengers and daily operations of the Quarantine Station. Explore the heritage buildings and discover the stories of migrants who arrived at this site during the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • Tours take approximately 60 minutes
  • Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes!
  • Please note: There is a small charge for these tours of $10 (normal cost $18). Places must be booked in advance by calling the Q Station Visitor Centre on 02 9466 1551.

SCREENING - Film shorts

Rolling screening 10am-12pm and 2-4pm

Take a break from the talks and tours, sit back, and see how medical science is helping to fight disease.

We’ve selected a series of short films from a mix of amateur and award-winning directors to take you on a journey through the world of viruses and vaccines.

  • Screenings are free to attend
  • Total length is approximately 55 minutes
  • Films will be repeated on a loop during the times above

Find out more here.

MUSEUM - Q Station Visitor Centre


Immerse yourself in the history of the Q Station by visiting the small museum. Learn about the passengers journey to Australia, the many horrific diseases they were exposed to on those journeys and the many stories of life in quarantine for both passengers and staff. The replica cabins of the RMS Niagara give visitors a sense of what sea travel was like 100 years ago and the interactive map gives kids today time to think about their own heritage.

  • The visitor centre and museum are free to attend

Event Detail

November 24, 2019 10:00 am
November 24, 2019 4:00 pm
Q Station