Captured by history

In opening up the Quarantine Project to scholars from ‘History Beyond the Classroom’, the response has been impressive!
HSTY3902 group visit 7 September 2015.jpg
Both I and the Q Station’s curator, Rebecca Anderson, were delighted that so many students made their way out to North Head for a brief tour and discussion of the site’s many layers of history. If we had known the turn-out would be so strong, we would readily have suggested a longer tour, plus time for individual roaming. However, everyone is welcome to visit again as individuals or groups – for more information, click here.
North Head also offers a vast range of opportunities for projects connecting the past with the community. We’ve had conversations and emails with a number of students since the visit, so don’t be shy if you still want to explore ideas! We can help connect you with groups and the resources to plan your own small-scale research projects such as:
• moments of disease at sea and in Sydney, from personal experiences of suffering to the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic of 1919
• histories of detention for quarantine, for processing of people and goods, or for ‘illegal immigrants’ held onsite from the 1950s to the 1970s
• humanitarian stories of the ‘Operation Babylift’ evacuation from Vietnam in 1975, or the temporary rehousing of Darwin residents after Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day, 1974
• individual or family lives linked to the historic inscriptions and gravestones spread across the site
• social histories of living and working in the isolated Quarantine Station community
• narratives of voyages to Sydney, whether crew, immigrants, travellers or returning soldiers
• the military history of North Head, including its system of bunkers, coastal artillery and occupation by the army in WWI and WWII
• contemporary histories of local and environmental politics after North Head was handed back to NSW in 1984
• the challenges of public history and interpretation across a large, historically rich site now being adaptively re-used for leisure and commerce.
Do feel free to get in touch to explore some of your ideas; we’ll help if we can!
Peter Hobbins

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