Sailing to Australian in 1835, 16-year-old John Dawson watched in alarm as three of his sisters developed smallpox. Although all survived this dreaded disease, their faces bore tell-tale scars for the rest of their lives. Yet John left an even more enduring memento of his family’s perilous voyage in the soft sandstone of North Head, at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
Carving a lengthy message proclaiming that the Dawsons had “landed here to perform quarantine”, John began a tradition that continued until Sydney’s Quarantine Station finally closed in 1984. During its 150 years of operation, nearly 16,000 people were held in isolation on this beautiful headland. Interned for days, weeks or even months, many followed John’s example, leaving an extraordinary gallery of more than 1600 carved and painted sandstone inscriptions.
You are invited to join us at our museum on Saturday, 4th August at 2:00 pm sharp, when Peter Hobbins will tell us more of these Stories from the Sandstone. Peter, an historian at the University of Sydney, co-wrote this book alongside Associate Professor Annie Clarke, also of the University of Sydney, and Dr. Ursula Frederick from the Australian National University.
Following the talk you are invited to stay for some light refreshments. These talks are open to everyone. Admission is FREE but donations are always welcome. Our museum is entirely run by volunteers and your donations help us to continue our work.
See Poster under “Guest Speaker” in side column for full details. Please feel free to forward it on to anyone you think might be interested.