Marking Presence, Passage and Place at the North Head Quarantine Station, Sydney

Author(s): Anne F Clarke; Ursula K Frederick

Year: 2013


A slowly fading inscription, scored into a sandstone boulder at the North Head Quarantine Station, Sydney, records the names of three, or possibly four, people—John, Alice Oliver and George. Dated to July 1893 the inscription prompts immediate questions: who were John, Alice Oliver and George? Were they a family? Under what circumstances did they find themselves in quarantine? Where did they come from and how? Did they survive their time in quarantine, or is this a memorial to loved ones lost? This is just one of 1200 inscriptions at North Head. These inscriptions form the material entry point for an inter-disciplinary investigation of the individual and collective stories of quarantine. Our paper will trace and analyse the ways that people passing through the Quarantine Station inscribed their presence in 19th and early 20th century contexts of global migration, displacement and place-making; arguably the core characteristics of modern settler societies.

Cite this Record

Marking Presence, Passage and Place at the North Head Quarantine Station, Sydney. Anne F Clarke, Ursula K Frederick. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428438)


Immigration Inscriptions Quarantine

Geographic Keywords

Temporal Keywords
19th and 20th centuries

Spatial Coverage

min long: 112.952; min lat: -43.648 ; max long: 153.606; max lat: -10.71 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 321