QSwharfth.jpg (4017 bytes)Manly Quarantine Station

Aboriginal History on North Head



in 1999

on site

in the past

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, Cannae Point and surroundings have evidences of middens, Aboriginal burial sites, rock art and an engraving. Aboriginal tools have been found on North Head.

Allen Madden, of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal
Land Council,
said "North Head was once the home of Aboriginal medicine men. This place was revered. We all must work together to preserve it for its value to all Australians."

Preliminary research, due for completion in November, 2000, is underway to discover more about the traditional significance of North Head for Aboriginal people.

This research is being conducted by DARWALA-LIA. Emma Lee spoke in November 2000 to the Annual General Meeting of Friends of Quarantine Station, about the findings of DARWALA-LIA. 

The area where the Quarantine Station was built was used as a camp site for people supporting the medicine men. Some of the women were healers too.

Important resources such as white clay and paper bark trees were available on North Head which made it a valued place for burial ceremonies.

Allen Madden
Metropolitan Local Aboriginal
Land Council Representative


This page was created 2nd June, 1999, by Judith Bennett, Friends of Quarantine Station,
and was last modified 26th February, 2012