Q Station, Manly … Sydney's best kept secret.

6 February 2015

Last week I gave you a sneak peak at The Q Station from its private beach and my SUP adventure and, as promised, this week I'll take you on a little tour to make you sick with jealousy. Yes, you will be jealous, r e a l l y jealous. Green to the gills, as my father used to say.

The Q Station was Sydney's quarantine station in the 1800s and 1900s, right up until 1984, protecting the city dwellers from diseases carried by new immigrants. Exotic imports like Bubonic plague, Spanish influenza and smallpox had the potential to wreak havoc amongst local residents. Boats with anyone showing signs of such contagious diseases were forced to off-load all crew and passengers at the station until such time as they were cleared of disease, usually around 40 days, after which they could sail on to their tantalisingly close destination. 580 boats, 13,000 immigrants and only around 570 deaths. A record to be proud of.

But what a place to have to be quarantined. 

The views to be enjoyed, the beach, the wildlife, better than the average isolation station I would have thought.

These days you enter via an historic stone arch, although you can arrive by ferry should you so choose.

No, that's not a ghost, though ghost tours do operate. It's one of those taken-through-the-windscreen-of-the-car photos.

You are accommodated in the same buildings as the previous quarantine-ees … Is there such a word?

Renovated to include modern facilities.

Some rooms have en-suites.

Others access bathrooms via beautiful covered walkways.

Some have verandahs with views of the harbour.


And there is so much space. Acres of it. To wander, play, whatever takes your fancy.

We took our morning coffee to this terrible spot to sit and ponder the meaning of life.

Shocking, I know.

Can I exercise, I hear you ask. Well, just a little.

Would these stairs be sufficient for your daily dose? Down to the beach, the coffee shop, the restaurant, the wharf.

And back up to your room.

Don't fret, you can take a bus if you would prefer. That sweet little bench is the bus stop.

The stairs follow the route of a funicular rail that delivered supplies from the wharf to the kitchen and stores.

 At the base of the stairs is the old boiler room, now a restaurant, bar and coffee shop.

At night the old stack soars into the darkness.

The boiler room was used to produce steam, the preferred method of reducing the spread of disease, and boil the linen.

Steam cleaned luggage on arrival.

Steam cleaned passengers in these state-of-the-art shower rooms.

Imagine how the WW11 immigrants felt when they saw these showers. Scared, I'm sure.

Snippets of history abound.

The current refurbishment prides itself on being able to remove the modern additions and return the site to as-it-was. I like that.

The hospital sits high on the hill. The best view at the station.

Views like this would definitely make me feel better.

But the rooms must be small, I hear you say. Well, no. I've been in much less roomy hotel accommodation.

Where can you relax? Stretch your legs … after those stairs? Read the paper? Sip that sunset drink?

Well, would this do?

But I've finished my book. Well, will this do?

So, have you made your booking yet?

Know any other historic places around this city I should visit?

I want to go back for another sojourn before we leave to head home in a couple of years' time.

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