Q Station at Manly’s North Head is an iconic travel destination right in the heart of Sydney. They offer a range of incredible experiences, from boutique hotel accommodation, stunning wedding venues, modern conference facilities and an amazing restaurant, as well as Sydney’s best ghost and history tours.
Sprawled across the hillside on the very edge of Sydney Harbour, the historic Quarantine Station has not only an impressive Sydney Harbour National Park location but also an incredible history behind its more recent transformation into Q Station. This transformation from the often harsh reality of a quarantine station to today’s peaceful accommodation and conference centre is a compelling tale of survival, adaptation and sustainability. Today our site is listed on both State and Commonwealth heritage registers as an integral element of North Head and its Aboriginal, natural and cultural significance.
A place of supreme natural beauty, North Head is home to varied flora and fauna. Endangered populations of eastern long-nosed bandicoots, little penguins, sunshine wattle and eastern suburbs banksia scrub all make their home amidst the built environment of the Quarantine Station.
North Head is also part of the richer history of Aboriginal occupation of Sydney Harbour. Whilst there is little detail in recorded knowledge of the Aboriginal presence on the Manly peninsula, one of the local clans associated with North Head (a tidal island called Car-rang gel) were the Gayimai. Carrang gel was an important ceremonial site used by the Koradgee (the wise ones) of the associated clans of the Northern Beaches. It was a place of significant teaching and ceremonial practice.
Some of the earliest contact and formative interaction between Aboriginal clans and the British colonialists occurred at our site. On 29th January 1788, Captain Hunter and Lieutenant Bradley landed on Quarantine Beach during an initial survey of Sydney Harbour just three days after the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson.
The practice of quarantine began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before offloading on shore. This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which means “forty days”. From the 1830s until 1984, migrant ships arriving in Sydney with suspected contagious disease stopped inside North head and offloaded passengers and crew into quarantine to protect local residents.