Aboriginal people occupied this site for thousands of years before British colonists arrived in Australia. Soon after the First Fleet arrived in 1788 with its cargo of convicts, contact was made in Manly between Aboriginal people and the colonists. Spring Cove and surroundings have evidence of middens, Aboriginal burial sites and an engraving.
Early in the history of European immigration, there was no need for quarantine for newly arrived ships but in the 1820s the number of immigrants increased. Spring Cove was used in 1828 for the first time for quarantine purposes. In the early years, ill people were kept on board ship and others were accommodated in tents.
For 140 years the Quarantine Station was used to house newly arrived immigrants and for this reason it is an important part of the history of Australia. Gradually buildings were added to the complex and these buildings reflect the beliefs and practices of the times in which they were built.
New ways of treating infectious diseases combined with the speed of air travel meant that the Quarantine Station was not often needed after 1960. The last ship to be quarantined was the Nikki Maru in 1972.
The Quarantine Station has been used for emergency housing - in 1974 for refugees from Cyclone Tracey in Darwin and in 1975 for Vietnamese orphans and illegal immigrants.
The quarantine station is now open for daytime heritage and night time ghost tours.
Click Here to visit the Quarantine Station website for more information.