|List||National Heritage List|
|Legal Status||Listed place (12/05/2006)|
|Place File No||1/13/024/0019|
|Summary Statement of Significance|
North Head is important as the northern expression of the seaward entrance to Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson) and played a major role in the cultural and military life of the colony of New South Wales, following the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. The ‘Heads’, have signified arrival and departure at Port Jackson since 1788 and are recognised as important, iconic, national landmarks. North Head was portrayed by artists such as Augustus Earle as early as 1825. In 1812 the ‘Heads’ were referred to as the ‘Port Jackson Heads’, later as the ‘Sydney Heads’. The Sydney Heads have iconic status for aesthetic values as landmarks in their own right, but equally as part of the setting for Sydney and its harbour.
North Head is important for its association with the establishment of quarantine in the colony of NSW and with Australia’s development as an island-nation, susceptible to ship-borne disease. The isolation and strategic role of North Head was recognised in 1828 when the first vessel, the Bussorab Merchant, was quarantined at Spring Cove. The importance and future role of North Head was reinforced by Governor Darling’s Quarantine Act of 1832, in response to the cholera epidemic in Europe in 1830. In 1832 the whole of North Head was set aside for quarantine purposes. North Head has a rich and diverse character which stems from the layering and aggregation of uses that overlay the relict and evolving cultural landscape of the Quarantine Station. The assemblage includes cemeteries, carvings and engravings which are a record of the station’s history and the diverse cultural and social backgrounds of quarantined passengers, including class and ethnicity. Archaeological sites within the Quarantine Station, and in other areas of North Head, have the potential to add to our understanding of the development and operation of nineteenth century quarantine practices and procedures from the 1830s-1870s, and in particular from the 1830s-1850s, a formative period for quarantine practices in the Australian colonies. The potential for archaeological investigation extends to the former mooring areas and littoral zones at Quarantine Cove, where vessels were cleansed before being returned to their owners, and to Stores Beach.
The North Head Quarantine Station is important, in conjunction with the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean, in illustrating the evolution and development of quarantine practices employed at Stations in other states.
The North Head Quarantine Station, excluding the Seamen’s Hospital, comprises the oldest and most intact example of quarantine facilities in Australia. The North Head Quarantine Station has the longest history (1828-1977) of quarantine use in Australia and provides the best evidence in Australia of the impact of changing social attitudes and scientific demands on quarantine from the 1830s-1980s, as well as the human story of quarantine. Over 13,000 persons, including convicts and free migrants, were to pass through the Station before its closure in 1977. The Quarantine Station was used for returning soldiers during WW1 and WW2, prisoners of war, evacuees from Cyclone Tracy in 1974 and refugees from Vietnam in 1975. The Station is particularly associated with the development of health policy by the NSW and Commonwealth governments during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including the treatment of plague and Spanish influenza victims. The station was closely associated with the smallpox epidemic of 1881, which resulted in better facilities, including a new hospital, and stricter zoning by fences, including a separate Asiatics’ area in response to requests from the Shipping Owners Association. In this respect the Station is an expression of the gradual implementation during the 1880s of Immigration Restriction Acts in the colonies as an expression of the white-Australia policy.
The major groups of buildings, erected 1873-1909 and 1910-1920, although contemporary with surviving complexes in other states, are rare in terms of the range of buildings and their relative intactness. The Superintendents Residence at North Head, erected in 1854, appears to be the earliest surviving purpose built quarantine related structure in Australia. The Quarantine Station is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics and development of quarantine stations in Australia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The principal characteristics, in addition to its location at the entrance to port and its physical isolation, include the conscious and enforced classification of the land, based on health issues, class and race and the institutional nature of the place. This included the isolation of the hospital, seen, but not approached from many parts of the Station; the Wharf and Disinfection areas, which stood as a barrier between the inmates and the main line of escape, and the Administration Area, which guarded the land route out; the separation of the First, Second and Third class passengers into barracks style accommodation in different areas, with the administration area interposed between Third Class and the rest, imposing class distinctions within the landscape; and the clear separation of the Asian Accommodation, imposing a racial layer on top of class differentiation. The cultural landscape includes cemeteries, monuments, fences, walls, boundary markers and cairns as well as tracks, paths and roads which document the development and meaning of the Station and reinforce the sense of segregation and isolation. Fences and stone walls characteristically formed an integral part of the security and boundaries of the Station. Specific responses to functional needs and the development of health practices and procedures designed to protect the colony, State and Nation from infectious diseases created a significant cultural landscape. The landscape was one of controlled movement with well defined groups of buildings set in precincts, reinforced by the institutional nature of the buildings and the unity of their design.
North Head was formed 90 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. Following rifting of the Tasman Sea and uplift of the Hornsby Plateau, stream erosion began to cut into the plateau surface. This erosion excavated the valley system now flooded by Sydney Harbour and left behind the ridges and plateau remnants forming the high ground and headlands around the harbour. There have been at least eight sea level changes over the past 700,000 years, and as a result of these changes in sea level, North Head has on various occasions formed a mesa, an island and a tied island. The main valleys of North Head are the landward extensions of these ancient valleys in the bed of Sydney Harbour. The largest valley extends from Manly Hospital to Collins Beach and is the landward extension of the palaeovalley in Spring Cove.
North Head is a tied island, composed primarily of Triassic age sandstone, shale and laminite from the Hawkesbury Sandstone and Newport Formations, which are exposed in the cliffs and rock platforms from Outer North Head to Shelly Beach Headland. Two basaltic dykes, presumed to be of Jurassic age, intrude the Triassic rocks. Above the 60 m contour North Head is a plateau with a central north-south trending ridge of Pleistocene-aged dune sands up to 30 m thick. These sands are a significant aquifer; wetlands are developed where the sand deposits are shallow and where sand chokes valleys on the western side and springs rise at the boundary between the sands and the Hawkesbury Sandstone. These feed the perennial stream entering the harbour at Collins Beach, the stream at Quarantine Station and the stream flowing beside the Sewage Treatment Works. The major soil landscapes at North Head are derived from the Pleistocene dune sands and Hawkesbury Sandstone, forming sandy podsols, yellow earths, siliceous sands and yellow podsolic. Bare rock outcrops and sandstone pavements are common. Below the 60m contour, valleys and embayments have dissected the western side of the plateau while on its eastern and southern sides sea cliffs up to 90m high bound the plateau. Large deposits of blocky talus blanket rock platforms that occur at the base of most of the cliffs. North Head is joined to the Hornsby Plateau by the Holocene sand spit on which the town of Manly is situated.
North Head is a mosaic of vegetation communities that have been subject to varying degrees of human impact including clearance. The natural ecosystems have been partly protected by North Head's isolation and both fragmented and protected by its unusual history of development and management. As a consequence North Head supports a number of vegetation communities and populations that are vulnerable to further changes and disturbance.
The exclusion of fire for the past thirty years has resulted in changes to vegetation communities, with scrub communities being invaded by species favoured by the absence of fire.
Approximately 460 species of vascular and non-vascular plants have been found at North Head in four vegetation communities. The coastal sandstone heath and coastal dune heath form dense vegetation thickets up to 2 m high on shallow stony soils on Hawkesbury Sandstone. The heath is dominated by sclerophyllous vegetation such as heath banksia (Banksia ericifolia), red bloodwood (Eucalyptus gummifera), smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata), various heath (Epacris) species, tea tree (Leptospermum laevogatum), and coast banksia (B. serratifolia). On the slopes and gullies, Sydney sandstone ridge-top woodland and Sydney sandstone gully forest form low woodland up to 10 metres in height, dominated by bangalay (E. botryoides) and smooth-barked apple. Understorey species include the tall shrub silver leaf (Callicoma serratifolia), and lilly-pilly (Acmena smithii). In these more protected areas, sweet pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) is becoming a significant environmental weed.
Ninety species of birds have been recorded at North Head including the satin flycatcher (Myiagra cyanoleuca), black-faced monarch (Monarcha melanopsis), brown gerygone (Gerygone mouki), wonga pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) and the whistling kite (Haliastur sphenurus). At least five terrestrial mammals are present, including the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), and water rat (Hydromys chrysogaster) and there are records of seven reptiles including the common tree snake (Dendrelphis punctulatus) and at least four frogs including the whistling tree frog (Litoria ewingi).
ABORIGINAL CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
Evidence of Aboriginal use of North Head has been recorded in at least thirty-five separate locations across this landscape. Sites include rock engravings, rock shelters with deposit and/or art, open camp sites, middens and burials. Most sites are concentrated on the western, harbour-side of North Head, generally in association with the small coves and beaches, close to fresh water sources and more accessible areas.
The shell middens commonly occur in rock shelters, usually with shallow deposits. A range of rocky shore shell species have been recorded. Very little fish and marine bone and few stone artifacts have been recorded in these shelters. Implements include a shell possibly hafted onto the ends of spear throwers (one of three locations in Sydney) (Attenbrow, 2002:99), and there is possible evidence for skin working identified on stone and bone artifacts from earlier undated excavations in rockshelters at Collins Cove, North Head. At least two edge ground axes have been located at North Head, as well a small number of stone flakes and a possible knapping floor (Attenbrow, 2002:100).
At least one burial has been located in a rock shelter on North Head, associated with shell material, and the skeleton of a child and an adult were removed from a rockshelter in the 1960’s.
Both rock engravings and painted motifs occur at North Head. Engravings occur in rock shelters and on open rock platforms, and include mundoes/footprints, a fish or whale, a wallaby, circles and a shark. A source of white and reddish/brown ochre has been located on North Head.
A range of other resources are available in the area which may have been used by Aboriginal people, including water (underground springs on the western side), plants, animals and marine resources.
Aboriginal place names have been recorded for locations on the southern side of North Head, and include Boree, and Garungal or Car-gang-gel (Attenbrow, 2002:9).
THE HISTORIC LANDSCAPE
North Head’s deep-water anchorages, rugged cliffs and landward isthmus provided an easily guarded, naturally isolated site for quarantine purposes. This sense of isolation has been reinforced by:
· the Catholic Church’s St Patrick’s Estate and the Commonwealth government’s control of the area which has resulted in the persistence of most of the area's native vegetation;
· views into and from North Head, in particular from the Quarantine Station, in which little development is visible within the boundaries of the area;
· the landmark location of North Head at the mouth of Middle Harbour and the seaward entrance to Port Jackson from the Pacific Ocean; and
· the relative scale and size of North Head in the context of Sydney Harbour/Port Jackson.
The landmark values of North Head, including its scale and isolation, are reinforced by the survival of the vegetated mass and profile of the headland. The North Head Sewerage Treatment Plant is located below and to the north of the ridge and does not appear to interfere with these landmark values.
As the dominant headland of the harbour, North Head was of importance in navigation from the time of the First Fleet. By 1809, navigational plans showed an obelisk in what would become the quarantine station. A ten metre obelisk (L4) still exists on this site making it potentially one of the oldest European structures on Sydney Harbour. The initial use of Spring Cove for the ship based quarantine station facilities was transferred to Quarantine Beach, Manly Cove, in 1837, where the first shore based facilities were created. Stores Beach to the north provided a separate point of entry for supplies and personnel. Although the whole of the headland was set aside for quarantine purposes, the area close to Quarantine Beach would develop as the focus of quarantine activity with functional areas strategically located on the valleys, hillsides and ridges surrounding Stores and Quarantine beaches. In the 1890s, the western boundary of the quarantine area was defined by a stone wall, modified in the 1930s, which now acts as a physical boundary to the relatively undeveloped areas of North Head, and which are also vegetated.
North Head comprises a number of precincts, which have been described is some detail by Freeman (2000) in the Conservation Management Plan prepared for the Quarantine Station and in a contemporary study of Defence Property at North Head.
The nominated area of North Head comprises the related Quarantine Station Precinct and Spring Cove precincts, the Parkhill Precinct, the Blue Fish Precinct (including the North Head Sewerage Treatment Plant), the related North Fort and Artillery School precincts and the Loop and Quarantine South precincts on the southern side of the headland. Integral to the use of the headland is the road which is defined at its northern end by the remains of the Parkhill Arch, which terminates at the scenic lookout and which, with the exception of Bluefish Drive, allows access to the precincts, each of which is defined by historical usage and existing cadastral boundaries. The North Head Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) is enclosed by the Blue Fish Precinct, while the Australian Institute of Police Management is located within the Spring Cove Precinct. The location of other features of North Head is directly indicated by the given name. The complex layering of the cultural landscape of North Head has resulted in quarantine related elements being included in Defence, Commonwealth Police and National Parks administered land.
Those aspects of North Head which are considered to be above threshold for the National Heritage List are discussed in outline in the following detailed descriptions based on Conservation Management Plans prepared by Freeman (2000) and Davies (2001) supplemented by Commonwealth, State and local government listings.
Freeman (2000) refers to the following aspects of North Head relative to the Quarantine Station Precinct: Wharf Area; Hospital and Isolation Ward Area; Third Class/Asiatics Area; First Class Area; Second Class Area; and Administrative Area. In addition, Freeman identified the Spring Cove, Parkhill, Quarantine South and Marine precincts. The detailed conservation management plan by Davies (2001) employed similar terminology but referred to the various areas in the Quarantine Station Precinct as precincts in their own right. The terminology adopted by Freeman (2000) in the North Head Quarantine Station Conservation management Plan and in the North Head Defence property report has been employed in order to address the broader landscape and heritage issues of North Head.
Quarantine Station and Quarantine South Precincts
The landscape of the Quarantine Station Precinct and Quarantine South Precinct comprise a cultural landscape heavily impacted by human activity. The Quarantine Station Precinct has three main groups of buildings: the wharf area; the foreshore buildings; the hospital group; and the buildings on the upper slopes. As a whole the station is set in bushland with cleared areas and some re-growth. The landscape is visually important to viewers from the harbour and from other headlands and from within North Head itself. A strong element in the landscape is the conscious and enforced classification of the land, based on health issues, class and race. This includes: the isolation of the hospital, seen, but not approached from many parts of the Station; the wharf and disinfection areas, which stood as a barrier between the inmates and the main line of escape, and the administration area, which guarded the land route out; the separation of the first, second and third class passengers, with the administration area interposed between third class and the rest, imposing class distinctions within the landscape; and the clear separation of the Asian accommodation, imposing a racial layer on top of class differentiation.
In addition, the cultural landscape includes cemeteries, monuments, fences, walls, boundary markers, obelisks and cairns as well as tracks, paths and roads which document the development and meaning of the Station. The approximate location of the first cemetery is at the junction of the wharf and hospital roads above Quarantine Beach (site 111A1, c. 1837-1853). The Second Cemetery (site L1, 1853-1881), east of the Third Class area in the Quarantine South Precinct, retains 3 headstones in situ, while the Third Cemetery (site VA1, 1881-1925) is located within the School of Artillery.
The Constitution Monument (site L9) commemorates the quarantining of the ship Constitution in 1855 and the 50 year reunion of survivors of this small pox outbreak. Located above the Third Class Precinct, the memorial was completed in 1855 to commemorate the ill-fated voyage. Like the inscriptions in the Wharf Area and at the ‘Old Man’s Hat’, located in the Quarantine South Precinct, it is one of the more obvious memorials. The iconography used by inmates, in the 1,000 plus inscriptions, memorials and gravestones, including military personnel buried in the Quarantine Station cemeteries, is important in conveying the experiences of inmates and changing attitudes to race and class.
Fences and walls formed an integral part of the security and boundaries of the Station. Built in the 1930s Depression, ashlar sandstone walls show the subdivision of the Station at that time for hospital, recreation and military purposes (site L10 south east of the Quarantine Station). Of particular importance is the single remaining cairn (site 111A3, 1830s) denoting the line of cairns which identified the terrestrial line of quarantine at that time.
Quarantine Beach, around which the Wharf area developed, was the first area to be improved to regulate the risk of disease entering the colony. The area includes the following structures and features:
- the sandstone and rubble wharf and timber jetty completed in its current form c. 1909. The seabed area around the end of the jetty may contain significant archaeological resources lost from quarantined ships.
- a group of inscriptions is clustered on the rock outcrops and south east slope of the Area. These began in the 1830s and continued throughout the life of the Station, with inscriptions in English, European languages and Arabic and Asian languages.
- the flat of the gully leading up from the wharf area contains: the brick Luggage Store and Examination Rooms (A14-A17, 1914-1915 ); the brick Disinfection Block and Powerhouse (A6-A7, 1912-1920), including autoclaves installed in 1917; timber buildings containing the Formalin Inhalation Chambers (A8, 1919) used to treat the 1918 Influenza victims; the brick Shower Blocks (A11-A12, 1912-1920) and Laundry (A9,1912-1920). The chimney dominates the group, the uniform red brick of the group having a strong visual impact. The site of the first Doctor’s Residence (site 111A2, c. 1838) has been identified on Cannae Point near the Mortuary.
- the site railway system and funicular to move luggage and supplies (1914-1915), based on a 2’ 4” gauge, ran from the jetty to the escarpment via stone ramp, but is now broken at two points.
- the Cannae Point wooden Signal mast, first erected in the 1830s and restored in the 1980s, advertised incoming shipping of the quarantine conditions. Other shorter flag poles are located at Quarantine Beach and at the General Office within the Administrative Area.
Hospital and Isolation Ward Area
The exposure of the area as part of Cannae Point, selected for its windy location as a means of creating healthy conditions, has resulted in limited tree cover, with the buildings clearly visible. The buildings are clearly separated from the First and Second Class areas, with the Asiatics and Third Class accommodation located closest to the Hospital areas. The area contains rock inscriptions, some dating from as late as the 1960s.
The largest building within the area, the Hospital Ward Building (H1) is the c. 1883 timber framed, weatherboard building with encircling verandahs adapted c. 1912, when the adjacent brick Ward Building (H2) and timber Changing Block (H3), Doctor’s and Nurses Block (H4), Kitchen (H5) and Assistant’s Quarters (H5) were completed. A covered walkway with handrails and cross bracing links the individual buildings. The alterations to the Hospital Ward Building included Federation features such as coloured glass and stucco and strapwork to the chimneys. The Isolation Wards (H7-11), also built c. 1912, comprise a group of domestic scale, weatherboard pavilions with corrugated, asbestos cement roof sheeting to the gabled roofs.
The sites of several early buildings are situated in the Hospital Area. These include the early male and female wards, the early doctor’s residence, the early cookhouse and officers’ quarters.
Third Class/Asiatics Area
The Third Class and Asiatics Area is located above Quarantine Beach in the saddle area formerly known as the Healthy Ground. The saddle was one of two sites set aside for the separation of sick and healthy immigrants in 1838. The first buildings on the site formed a crescent above the present road. The site now contains a large Dormitory Block (c. 1833 P22), Kitchen and Dining Room (1912-1914 P27) and small freestanding toilet blocks for third class passengers (P28-P29) as well as a Staff Cottage (c. 1883 S9) and the three connected dormitories for Asiatic crew members with its freestanding kitchen block (1899-1900 P14-P16).
The group of buildings is usually viewed from the wharf and hospital precincts to the west; the Kitchen/Dining Rooms (P27) dominates the views as a, gabled, two-storey, weatherboard building with external, sandstone chimneys. The Dining Room retains much of the original equipment, including the kitchen dumb waiters. The three connected dormitories for Asiatic crew members with its freestanding kitchen block (P14-P16) is also of timber construction, however, the three spaces are separated by brick firewalls. The Third Class Dormitory (P22), also of timber construction, is a large bungalow style building with encircling verandahs on all sides. The large rooms have French doors leading onto the verandahs. The overriding character of the buildings stems from the Federation style architectural details employed in the stud-framed, weatherboard, rectangular forms with encircling verandahs and gabled roofs with open eaves and similar door and window openings. In all cases the buildings are supported on sandstone piers and footings.
Archaeological sites, including the positions of former structures, in the area are related to: sub-surface remains of the barracks style buildings erected in 1837; a store from the 1840s; two barracks from the 1850s; two doctor’s residences from 1837; cookhouses from the 1840s-1850s; a store from the 1880s; Asiatics latrines from c. 1899; and a lock-up cell, temporary staff quarters, an early road formation and early pathways.
First Class Area
The First Class Area sits above Spring Cove at the centre of the quarantine complex. The buildings are arranged along a north-south axis formed by a central roadway which connects to the Second Class Area. Originally enclosed by a 6 foot fence, the area reached its present form by the 1890s when a Men’s Smoking Room (P3), Ladies Sitting Room (P7), Meat Store (P4), Ironing Room (P36), Kitchen and Staff Quarters (P6 and P13) and telephone office, croquet lawn (P11) and other ancillary facilities such as an ablution block were completed.
A high standard of accommodation was offered to First Class passengers at sea, a factor expressed in the superior buildings (P1, P2, P5, P9 and P10) with spacious accommodation, erected in the area from 1875 in the space of a few years. These buildings, although modest in their treatment, are appropriately sited to enable views from the verandahs and cooling breezes. The planning form of the barracks provided each room with internal corridor access to a communal, end sitting room with its own fireplace. External French doors provided each room with access to the bathrooms and communal dining and recreational facilities. The Dining Room was located at the centre of building P5. The Smoking Room and Ladies Room are a matched pair of rooms with similar features and proportions to the Dining Room.
The buildings and their weatherboard-lined interiors remain substantially intact. Landscape elements, such as pathways and plantings of pine trees on the south side enhance the longitudinal nature of the group.
Archaeological sites, including the positions of former structures, in the area are PV1A, PV1A3, PV1A4, PV1A5 and tennis court VA2.
Second Class Area
The Second Class Area is situated on the ridge between Store Beach and Spring Cove and includes Lyne’s Buildings (Second Class Accommodation P11, P12 and P13 1901). The simple, bungalow style barracks (P11, P12), with 22 and 14 rooms respectively, and kitchen/dining room (P13) were erected in 1901 following the outbreak of plague. Timber framed and weatherboard clad, the barracks are similar in most respects to the earlier first class buildings (1875) and to third class building P22 (1882). Less refined in their detailing, the buildings illustrate aspects of the Federation styles, although this is not strongly expressed. The rooms are similar in many respects to the first class accommodation. Building P13 differs from the barracks in the use of a hipped roof.
The only remaining stone cairn of the 1830s (site 111A3) is located in this area in addition to some inscriptions on exposed sandstone surfaces.
The present Administration Area was based around the Superintendents Residence (S6), a weatherboard cottage erected in 1853. Other elements include the Superintendent’s Office (A1 1911-1912), the Staff Mess (A20 c. 1921), Stables and garage (A24 1911-1912) and the Recreation/Post and Telegraph Office (A25 c. 1900) initially erected as a billiard hall. Additional Staff Cottages were added in 1870 (S5), c. 1883 (S1 and S2), 1913 (S12), 1938 (S14) and after 1950 (S15 and S16). Other staff cottages include S4, S7 and S10.
The Superintendents Office building (A1) is a fine two-storey building with a strong architectural character. Building S5 was originally a duplex. Other buildings are essentially single-storey timber structures. Overall the area is not as homogeneous as the barracks style accommodation areas due to its topography however, the staff cottages are important in showing changes in living standards for staff. The area was out of bounds for many of the detainees and hence there is little evidence of inscriptions.
The area includes archaeological sites, including the sites of the temporary staff quarters (PV1A2), a lock-up (PV1S1) and the funicular railway station.
Spring Cove Precinct
The precinct encompasses the area where stores were brought ashore in the early days of the Quarantine Station. However, the only remaining stone cairn of the 1830s (site 111A3) is located at the boundary with the Second Class Area. The other elements which relate to quarantine use include elements of the Seamen’s Isolation Hospital (1918), now at the centre of the Australian Institute of Police Management development. In this context, although the original buildings remain in place, there has been substantial adaptation, including almost complete enclosure.
There are no inscriptions although the site of the former Boatmen’s Cottage (111A8) of the 1840s is one of several sites believed to contain archaeological evidence.
School of Artillery Precinct
Includes the Third Cemetery used from 1881-1925, the Constitution Monument (1855-1905) and the sandstone obelisk (possibly 1807-1809) thought to be the oldest structure of North Head. A sandstone boundary wall (1930s) at the eastern side in an indicator of the internal separation required in the 1930s, when some areas of North Head were given over to non-quarantine uses.
North Fort and Loop Precincts
The North Fort and Loop precincts do not contain quarantine related elements.
Blue Fish and Parkhill Precincts
The Blue Fish and Parkhill Precincts do not contain quarantine related elements other than the remains of stone boundary walls erected in 1897 and in the 1930s.
Historic Archaeological Sites
Wendy Thorp’s work (1988 updated 1992) has been identified by Davies (2001) as the most comprehensive and up to date assessment and survey to date. This covered the areas managed by National Parks and Wildlife Services and included some 48 known sites and some 47 potential sites. Freeman (2000) states that since 1992 a number of the potential sites have been confirmed by above ground evidence. However, the location, names and nature of theses additional sites has not been provided. Within the Quarantine Station archaeological sites include: demolished buildings and structures; movable heritage; archaeological deposits and scatters, including sub-floor deposits; cemeteries and inscriptions. Some of these have been identified above.
For a complete description of aspects relating to quarantine refer to the conservation management plans by Freeman (2000) and Davies (2001 as amended to 2005).
The Gayamaygal people occupied the northern areas around Port Jackson when the first Europeans entered Port Jackson (Attenbrow, 2002:24-25).
Some of the early interactions between Aboriginal people and colonists of the First Fleet occurred in the North Head area. In June 1788 Bradley recorded sighting ‘on the pitch of the N. Head’ a man under the overhanging cliff, who assisted in giving directions, and men carrying ‘a quantity of shellfish in a net’ on North Head which they offered to Bradley (Attenbrow, 2002:82). In December 1788, Arabanoo, a young Aboriginal man, was captured from Manly Cove and, under restraint, lived in a separate hut in the yard of Government House (McBryde, 1989:9). He told the colonists much about the life and customs of his people during the four months of captivity before he died of smallpox (Tench,1793:14, in Attenbrow, 2002:14). In November 1789, two more Aboriginal men, Bennelong and Colbee, were captured in the northern cove (McBryde, 1989:11). Although later escaping, this was the start of a long association between both men and the colonists. Bennelong later became a well known figure in the early settlement, frequently staying at the Governor’s house when he visited (Attenbrow, 2002:15). Other interactions, such as a whale feast and the spearing of Governor Phillip, were recorded to the north of North Head at Manly Cove (Lee, 2003:19 from Bradley, 1786-92:121; Tench, 1793:54).
There are also early historical accounts of the rock engravings in the general North Head area and their possible meaning. George F. Angas visited Sydney in 1844, and sought information on engravings from Old Queen Gooseberry (who was camping near Camp Cove). She accompanied Angas to several places near North Head and told him all she knew. Although little was recorded, she said that no-one lived on engraving sites and that ‘mystic dances or festivals’ were held on these areas as well as fights and dances (Attenbrow, 2002:135).
The First Fleet and Port Jackson
The arrival on 28 April 1770 at Botany Bay of Lieutenant James Cook would lead to the provision of information, which became the basis for the mapping and colonization of Australia by the British. Before leaving the bay Cook ordered an inscription to be cut on a tree close to where they had watered, setting forth the ships’ name and date, 6 May 1770. Almost at once after they had departed they sighted safe anchorage, naming it Port Jackson (Hough, 1994). Cook claimed eastern Australia, at Possession Island, Torres Strait/Cape York, for Britain in 1770, after mapping the eastern coastline. As the first European discoverer, and carrying a regular commission to do so, Cook was able to claim this terra nullius for his sovereign (Frost 1994). As Cook wrote, ‘We are to Consider that we see this Country in the pure State of Nature, the industry of man has had nothing to do with any part of it’ (Frost, 1992).
Hughes (2003) and other authors have discussed the importance of Britain maintaining its geo-political presence in the Pacific in the face of French exploration. Sir James Harris reported to William Pitt in 1786 that no time should be lost in augmenting British Naval and Land Force in the southwest quarter of the Pacific. According to historians such as Frost and Blainey, such strategic outlier arguments led to Botany Bay. Pine trees and flax, to be found in the Pacific region, were a mainstay of shipping, providing sails, masts and spars. In 1786 a proposal was put to Pitt to colonise Botany Bay for the purpose of ‘effectively disposing of convicts’. The First Fleet, which arrived in Australia in 1788, was designed to serve both official purposes.
The First Fleet, under Captain Arthur Phillip, arrived at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788 (Berzins, 1988). In a letter of 3 July 1788 Captain Phillip informed the Marquis of Lansdowne in England of the reasons for the move to Sydney Cove. In addition to the poor quality of the land for agriculture it was particularly noted that Botany Bay offered ‘no security for large ships’ while Port Jackson offered room for ‘a thousand Sail of the Line… in perfect security’ (PICMAN database State Library of NSW MLMSS 7241: filed at safe 1/234). Phillip began to transfer his fleet to Port Jackson on 25 January 1788, raising the British flag at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788, before formally taking possession.
Although the original and final sailing instructions to Arthur Phillip have not been found in any archive, an earlier edited version has survived (Public Records Office London 20 April 1787 Co 201/1 ff 29-45v). The instructions, composed by Lord Sydney, were from George 111, with the advice of the Privy Council. The instructions designated Phillip as Captain General and Governor in Chief of NSW and advised Phillip about managing the convicts, granting and cultivating the land and exploring the country. The Aborigines’ lives and livelihoods were to be protected and friendly relations with them encouraged, but the instructions made no mention of protecting or even recognizing their lands. It was assumed from the time of Cook that Australia was terra nullius; that is land belonging to no one (refer to Historical Records of NSW, Vol 2 Part 2, for more detail).
The area of Manly Cove [Bay], in particular Collins Beach, is associated with First Fleet contact with Aboriginal people. On 22 January 1788 Captain Phillips named the area Manly after the ‘confidence and manly behaviour’ of the natives, during his exploration of Port Jackson from 21-24 January 1788. In May 1788 a final attempt was made to engage with the Indigenous people. On 31 December 1788 attempts were made to kidnap people at Manly Cove by Lieutenants Ball and Johnston. The first captive, Arabanoo, died from smallpox on 18 May 1789. Colby and Benelong were also probably taken at Manly Cove, according to various sources, including the accounts of Watkin Tench. Captain Phillip was speared at Manly Cove on 7 September 1790, the same day that a ‘whale feast’ was witnessed (Flannery 1996: 95, 137; Blackmore, 1986 Vol 2: 83-86; and Freeman 2000 Vol 1:8, 35-36). A stone monument, now lacking its inscriptions, stands above the steps to Collins Beach. Collins Beach may have been where the spearing took place.
The development and use of North Head has been influenced by its relative isolation from Sydney and its physical environment. This isolation slowed development of the area, although by 1810, the first land grants had been made to Richard Cheers and Gilbert Baker adjacent to Manly Cove. A navigational obelisk was erected on the western side of North Head c.1809 to assist in navigating the entrance channels to the port (Blackmore, 1986 Vol 2: 86-87).
With European occupation of Australia, the Sydney Heads became the entrance to one of the world’s greatest harbours, Sydney Harbour. The central role of Port Jackson in the life of the colony of New South Wales lead to the harbour and its landmarks being portrayed by artists, photographers and cartographers, including Augustus Earle (c. 1825), from the early years of settlement and into the twentieth century. Both the North and South Heads have played an important role in the cultural and military life of the colony of NSW. The isolation of North Head and Manly at the entrance to Port Jackson would result in its use for quarantine and religious purposes, coastal defence and other military uses as well as uses associated with the growth of Manly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
A proclamation of quarantine was enacted at Port Jackson in response to the New York yellow fever epidemic of 1804. However, matters of public health lacked any real administration. North Head was first used as a stopgap, quarantine measure against typhoid in 1828, following an earlier whooping cough outbreak. The isolation and strategic role of North Head was recognised in 1828 when the first vessel, the Bussorab Merchant, was quarantined at Spring Cove. The Quarantine Act of 1832, based on a British Act of 1825 and the result of the cholera epidemic of 1830 in Europe and the unwillingness of free vessels to comply with ad hoc quarantine processes, led to the establishment in 1832 of a Quarantine Station at Spring Cove by Governor Darling. This was the first officially designated site in Australia (Blackmore, 1986 Vol 2: 89-90).
In 1833 Governor Bourke proclaimed the land within a quarter of a mile of Spring Cove a quarantine station. However, in 1837 the quarantine area was extended from Spring Cove to cover the whole of North Head up to the boundary with Richard Cheers grant at Manly Cove and a cemetery created at the head of Spring Cove Gully. From 1837 ships anchored at Spring Cove for cleansing after disembarking their passengers into quarantine. In 1837 the Quarantine complex was moved to Quarantine Beach from Spring Cove, with the construction of permanent buildings to replace the practice of quarantining sick people aboard their vessels. A signal mast at Cannae Point was used from the 1830s to signal shipping of quarantine conditions at the Quarantine Station. A series of stone cairns marked the boundary of the Quarantine Station from the 1830s. By 1838 there was a great increase in shipping resulting in the appointment of a Health Officer for Port Jackson. The renewal of immigration in 1847-1848 led to review of quarantine facilities and the recommendation that new facilities should be erected, including kitchens, privies separate wards and shelter shed at the wharf. The Beejapore arrived in 1853, carrying over 1,000 passengers. Some 62 passengers subsequently died at Spring Cove's over-stretched quarantine facilities, which were only designed to cater for 150 people. An extensive building program commenced in 1853, a result of increased immigration in response to the discovery of gold in 1851. New quarantine stations were also opened at Newcastle (1850) and Moreton Bay (1852) to supplement that at Melbourne, opened at Hobson’s Bay in 1840. At North Head, the original cemetery close to the beach was levelled and the markers moved to higher ground, thus removing the burials from the view of the Healthy Ground. Quarters were also built for the Superintendent (Freeman, 2000 Vol 1: 46-47, 55-56, 90-91).
In 1855, the ship Constitution sailed through the Sydney Heads on 24 May 1855 after a voyage of 98 days from Southampton. Of the 375 passengers, fourteen died with an outbreak of smallpox. Quarantined for 2 months, six of the passengers carved a stone obelisk in memory of their shipmates. In 1905, 27 survivors met at the Station to mark the 50th anniversary of the ill-fated voyage. Two marble tablets were added to the obelisk in 1905.
The arrival in 1872 of the Hero, which required quarantine for smallpox, and the 1881 smallpox epidemic, resulted in an increasingly segregated layout based on class, race and disease, following the appointment of a Royal Commission in September 1881. A light tram, reservoir, better cleansing facilities, hospital accommodation and stricter zoning, including a separate Asiatic area, in response to requests from the Shipping Owners Association, were implemented after 1882 by the newly appointed Board of Health. The new Board was also responsible for the city of Sydney. The treatment of infected people was now managed in conjunction with the new Coast Hospital (Prince Henry) at Little Bay. From 1885 the role of Health Officer in the management of the Quarantine Station was replaced with that of the Principal Medical Inspector of the Board of Health. By 1889 there was accommodation for 300 people in timber buildings with stone foundations, in several enclosures, and platforms had been built for the erection of tents as overflow accommodation. The hospital could house 60 patients, and a steam laundry was in operation as were a baggage disinfector and baggage store. Communication with Sydney was by telephone and telegraph. By 1895 a new two-ward hospital had been erected and by 1897 a rubble boundary wall, 8 feet high, was erected at the boundary with the land granted to the Roman Catholic Church. Dedicated Asiatic accommodation was erected in 1902 (Freeman, 2000 Vol 1).
Land clearance associated with the Station made the area visually distinctive from the harbour, heightening the sense of isolation. The Quarantine Station came into use for a domestic, public health, emergency during the Sydney plague epidemic of 1900. In 1900, 264 plague cases and 1,832 contacts were quarantined from January to August of that year. One hundred and forty victims of plague were buried in the third burial ground, including forty-eight, who died in Sydney. As the first of 10 outbreaks of plague between 1900 and 1922, the outbreak led to the erection of new accommodation at North Head. The Second Class Area, situated on the ridge between Store Beach and Spring Cove includes Lynes Buildings (Second Class Accommodation P11, P12 and P13) erected in 1901 following the outbreak of plague. However, from 1902 plague carriers and contacts were housed at the Coast Hospital. Earlier, in 1899, the NSW Government Board of Health had given permission for the inoculation of animals for experimental purposes, with plague horses stabled above Quarantine Beach (Freeman, 2000 Vol 1).
From the 1880s it had been clear that effective quarantine, on a cooperative basis, was required by the states, as were common postal services and a common defence. Quarantine and Defence were both vested in the Commonwealth Government in 1901. In 1904 it was agreed by the states and Commonwealth that a Commonwealth Director-General for Quarantine would be appointed, but that quarantine in each state would be administered by the State’s chief health officer, with delegated authority.
In 1909 the Commonwealth assumed technical responsibility for the Quarantine Station following the Quarantine Act 1908. However, the states were empowered to use Commonwealth quarantine facilities in special circumstances, although the Commonwealth remained responsible for dealing with cases of communicable diseases. In 1912 the Commonwealth’s Director of Quarantine, Dr W. P. Norris, inspected and reported on the world’s best quarantine practices. Transferred to the Commonwealth in 1911, recommendations in 1912 resulted in the construction of new facilities including new arrival and cleansing facilities, including a boiler house, isolation and dormitory blocks, an additional tramway system, and kitchen and bathing blocks. By 1913 relations between the State and the Commonwealth were at breaking point. Between July 1913 and January 1914, 1,402 people were quarantined for smallpox, with a maximum of 309 housed at the Quarantine Station at the peak of the epidemic. During the epidemic the Commonwealth acted unilaterally, declaring Sydney a quarantined area. The effectiveness of this approach was tested during the influenza outbreak after the First World War. Tuberculosis wards were set up 1916-1918 to deal with infected servicemen returning from the First World War. In 1918 the worldwide influenza epidemic reached Australia; between 1918-1919 over 110 ships were moored at Spring Cove with 70 people dying from influenza. The Seamen’s Venereal Diseases Hospital was erected 1916-1920 adjacent to Spring Cove. The inability of the existing quarantine service to control the influenza outbreak led in 1921 to the formation of the Commonwealth’s Department of Health. By the 1920s the Quarantine Station could accommodate 1,208 persons and had reached its current form (Freeman, 2000 Vol 1)
During the Second World War the Quarantine Station became a military establishment occupied by troops in transit and prisoners of war awaiting detention. The Quarantine Station remained in use for quarantine purposes until the 1970s. In 1974 the buildings were used to house 217 Darwin refugees after Cyclone Tracey and in 1975 the station housed 100 Vietnamese children. The advent of air transport resulted in changes to the Quarantine Station from 1957 with the loss of structures and re-roofing of buildings. The effective eradication of smallpox worldwide and the dominance of air transport led to the closure of the Quarantine Station in 1977 (Freeman, 2000 Vol 1). More than 13,000 people were quarantined at North Head of whom 572 died and were buried there. Between 1828 and 1984 at least 580 vessels were quarantined at the Quarantine Station (Freeman, 2000 Vol 1).
In 1984 the North Head Quarantine Station was returned to the NSW Government, to be managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Other land acquired by the NSW NPWS included the North Head Sydney Harbour National Park Reserve in 1979.
In 1960, the former Seamen’s Isolation Hospital at Collins Flat, used as a Migrant Hostel in the post-war years from 1949-1953 by the Department of Immigration, and under resumed Army occupation from 1953, was adapted for use as the Commonwealth Police Training College, now the Australian Institute of Police Management. The predecessor of the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Police was the Commonwealth Investigation Service. In 1954, Mr Ray Whitrod, Director of the Commonwealth Investigation Service, suggested that an Australian Police College be established for senior officer training for all Australian jurisdictions. The land included nine acres around the buildings and a further 12 acres adjoining on the ridge extending to Store Beach and the jetty. The Army handed over the Collins Flat site in July 1957. The initial title of the institution was ‘Commonwealth Police Training Depot’. In October 1961 the Depot was officially renamed the Australian Police College (Australian Archives AA SP 857/11 Item PS/412).
Secular and Religious Development
The eastern boundary of Cheers grant of 1810 formed the boundary of the Quarantine Station.
Although isolation had slowed settlement, the area was only two hours from Sydney by land and sea. Land speculation in the Manly area began when Thomas Whistler Smith produced plans for a Marine Retreat in 1853. Smith made arrangements for a regular ferry service in 1855 to ensure the success of his ventures. By 1860 Manly had begun to compete with other favoured places, such as Watson’s Bay, with hotels and boarding houses (Blackmore, 1986 Vol 2).
In 1859 the Catholic Church acquired 60 acres adjoining and including part of the Quarantine Station reserve. Although the transaction was not finalised until 1879, the conditions of sale included the construction of an ecclesiastical seminary and a stone-wall, erected c.1880, separating it from the Quarantine Station. The isolation of the site, yet proximity to Sydney, was seen as ideal for educational purposes as well as for a religious retreat by the Catholic Church. Plans for St Patrick’s College, which was to be the largest Catholic Seminary in the southern hemisphere, were drawn up by Sydney architects Sheerin and Hennessy under Cardinal Patrick Moran’s influence in 1885. St Patrick’s College opened in 1889, although a Cardinal’s Palace had been completed earlier in 1886. In 1886 in exchange for a small public reserve at Cabbage Tree Bay, the Catholic Church was granted 22 acres of land in the Quarantine Reserve, and a sandstone wall was erected along the new boundary. In 1993 Cardinal Edward Clancy decided to move clerical studies away from the Manly seminary, ending its traditional use (Blackmore, 1986; Clive Lucas et al, 1997: pp. 41-42).
By the 1880s Manly was the pre-eminent watering place (recreational) for the Colony. In 1914, Darley Road was constructed through Catholic Church land, with flanking stone-walls, to connect with the Quarantine Station. A second residential boom period peaked in Manly following the opening of the Spit Bridge in 1927. In 1929 the Commonwealth Government granted permissive occupancy over 300 acres of North Head for public use. This was conditional on Manly Council building a stone-wall to isolate the Quarantine Station. Parkhill Reserve, comprising the whole of the headland outside the Quarantine Station, was opened in 1933 as a public reserve. The cobbled Memorial Drive, stone-walls and Parkhill Arch were built between 1931 and 1933; the reserve was named after local dignitary Sir Archdale Parkhill (Freeman, 2000). The two storey brick Manly Peace Hospital was established in the 1930s on land granted in 1917 by the Commonwealth for the construction of a cottage hospital. Comprehensive street tree plantings were made in the 1930s. Palms (Washingtonia robusta) were planted as an expression of public taste outside St Patrick’s College with similar plantings at the Quarantine Station (Blackmore, 1986).
A scheme for the construction of the northern suburbs ocean outfall sewer at Blue Fish Point, North Head was prepared in 1914, with construction commencing in 1916. The sewerage scheme serviced the areas of Manly, Mosman, North Sydney, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill, Ryde, Ermington, Rydalmere, Dundas, Parramatta, Baulkham Hills and Blacktown. The scheme was completed in 1928, but in 1972, the North Head Sewerage Treatment Works was upgraded to provide a treatment works (Water Pollution Control Plant) at the North Head outlet; this was later upgraded for the deepwater ocean outfall scheme of the 1990s (AHDB RNE place 1/13/024/0019, North Head) and is currently known as the North Head Sewerage Treatment Plant.
Traditionally the first threats of invasion were seen as coming from the sea, with inner and outer lines of defence established at Sydney Cove and at Middle Head by 1801. Various schemes for the defence of Sydney and Port Jackson were proposed throughout the nineteenth century, with an outer line of fortifications completed at Bradley’s Head, South Head and Middle Head; at Middle Head fortifications were begun as early as 1873 under Colonial Architect James Barnet. However, it was not until the Second World War that North Head became part of Sydney’s coastal defences.
In 1934 the Commonwealth withdrew permissive occupancy by Manly Council in anticipation of the fortification of the headland for coastal defence. Two 9.2 inch guns had been purchased for installation at North Head in March 1934. Construction of North Head Fort (concrete gun emplacements, magazines, engine room, pump chambers, tunnels and plotting room) was completed in 1936, by the civilian firm of McConnell, as were the Command Post and battery Observation Posts. The guns were capable of targeting shipping in Botany Bay and Port Hacking. These guns were to be supported by the six-inch batteries at South Head. North Head was to play a role in the defence of Sydney Harbour under Australian troops. An artillery barracks complex, completed between 1933 and 1938, was used as the Headquarters of the Australian Coast Brigade with barracks for personnel manning the coastal fortifications at North Fort and Bluefish Point erected between 1935 and 1936. The main barracks complex, the North Head Fort barracks Group (the Artillery Barracks) was completed between 1936 and 1937, below the highest point of North Head. The new quarters were the largest barracks erected in Australia in the Inter-war years. Cottages were also completed for the Battery Commanders as well as four cottages for the NCOs. A second barracks complex was also completed within the Quarantine Station Reserve. The 1st Heavy Brigade moved its headquarters to North Head in 1938. The first Australian land-based radar station was established at Blue Fish Point in 1941, during the Second World War, protected by an anti-aircraft battery and searchlights (Freeman, 2000 and Schwager Brooks, 1996). Before 1940 the entire Sydney Defence had been commanded from the North Head Barracks, but after the declaration of war, in 1939, command was transferred to Dover Heights (Freeman, 2000 and Schwager Brooks, 1996).
After the Second World War the permanent barracks complex became the School of Artillery in 1953. The School remained a crucial component of the basic individual training of officres, NCOs and gunners in the 1970s and 1980s. However, in 1960 the North Fort guns and other equipment were removed. Although remaining in use, the physical limitations of the site would eventually bring about the relocation of the artillery function. In 1979 the Commonwealth/State Foreshores Agreement provided for the exchange of certain State and Commonwealth lands and in December 1989 the artillery directorate was transferred to Canberra. The School of Artillery was relocated to Puckapunyal in Victoria in 1997-1998 (Freeman, 2000 and Schwager Brooks 1996).
The North Fort is now in use as the Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) Museum (from 1990) and remains in Defence hands, while the Artillery Barracks complex is managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, as part of former defence lands in Sydney Harbour, before it is returned to the State of NSW.
|Condition and Integrity|
For condition and integrity refer to the North Head Quarantine Station Conservation Management Plan (Freeman 2000) and the Detailed Area Conservation Management Plan (Davies 2001 updated to 2005).
The vegetation of North Head is in variable condition, with some areas, particularly those at the edges of small communities, being in poor condition. Dieback has significantly affected bangalay in the woodland areas facing Spring Cove.
Weed invasion has affected many areas with lantana, morning glory, asparagus fern and coral tree being the most conspicuous weeds. Pampas grass has invaded along drainage lines from the School of Artillery. Tramping by visitors and military vehicles has had a significant effect on some sensitive communities, particularly heaths on the eastern side of the headland.
The sand dunes at North Head have been disturbed by roads and development associated with the Quarantine Station and School of Artillery. However a significant portion of the dune area remains undisturbed and covered by natural vegetation.
Geological formations at North Head are in good condition and are generally robust and under little threat from existing or likely future landuse. Some features, however, are less robust and could be easily degraded, notably the dunes forming the centre of North Head. Similar formations elsewhere in the Sydney area have been destroyed or heavily modified.
North Head is an isolated island environment susceptible to further disturbance. Plant communities on the dunes and on shallow soils on the Hawkesbury Sandstone are particularly vulnerable to disturbance by development, vehicles and earth moving, including the development of roads and service easements. The isolation and small size of many of the plant communities and the fauna population make them particularly vulnerable to localised extinction through wildfire, urban development, disease, predation by domestic pets and road kills. Despite a dramatic decline in the 1950s, the penguin colony now appears to be recolonising the shoreline below the Police College.
The condition and integrity of North Head was last assessed in the period 1999-2000.
277ha, at Manly, comprising the whole of the headland, to Low Water, south of a
line commencing at Low Water north of Collins Beach on the alignment of the north-west
boundary of Lot 2763 DP752038, then easterly via that alignment and boundary
and then following the north-westerly boundaries of Lot 2774 DP752038 Lot 2728
DP752038, Lot 2764 DP752038 and Lot 2763 DP752038 to the most northerly point
of Lot 2763 DP752038, then generally easterly via the north-east and northern
boundaries of Lot 2763 DP752038 and the alignment of the latter segment to Low
Water. Excluded is the North Head Sewage Treatment Plant being the whole of Lot
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Report Produced Sat Feb 28 17:15:38 2015