QSwharfth.jpg (4017 bytes)Manly Quarantine Station

QS Conservation Plan 2000 - Part 8

Aboriginal
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Natural
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Conservation
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8.0          SHNP North Head Quarantine Station

Conservation and Management Policy Issues

Part 7 - Assessing Significance

This page is Part 8 - Conservation and Management Policy Issues

Part 9 - Conservation and Management Policy

Part 10 - Implementation.

 

8.1             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   Preamble

 

Refer

Section 9.0

Statement of Conservation and Management Policy

 

The following discussion relates to North Head Quarantine Station conservation and management policy issues. This discussion informs the statements of conservation and management policy, refer Section 9.0 below. A margin note refers to the relationship of issues and policy statements.

 

8.2             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   The NHQS Statement of Significance

 

8.2.1          Statement of Significance :

                   North Head

 

Refer

Section 7.8.4 and Section 7.8.5:

NHQS Statements of Cultural and Natural Significance

 

Opportunities and constraints on the future use and management of the Quarantine Station arise from its cultural significance as a nationally significant quarantine station strongly associated with Australia’s migration history, and as a landmark in Port Jackson closely associated with Sydney’s history. The significance of the place is strongly reflected in its intactness and its ability to demonstrate all phases of its history, and to convey a sense of its uniqueness through its setting and the nature of its buildings and other elements. The need to conserve these aspects of its value are fundamental constraints on the future management of the place, and are considered below. The following policies have been formulated with reference to the Statement of Significance for North Head Quarantine Station; and to various statutory requirements; and to other NPWS management requirements and objectives.

 

The statement reads [in part]:

 

‘The primary significance of the North Head and the Quarantine Station is its ability to evoke powerful emotions about this country and the early years of European settlement including the impact of the arrival of Europeans on the native habitat and the native inhabitants. Strong meanings are embodied in the landform, the vegetation, the harbour and the sea. The significance of the place is strongly reflected in its intactness and its ability to demonstrate all phases of its history and to convey a sense of its uniqueness through its setting and the nature of its buildings and other elements.

 

‘Many aspects of the place contribute to its meaning and its significance. North Head has retained much of its traditional ambience. The strong meaning and spirituality of the place to Aboriginal people is tangible also to Europeans. Its isolation is palpable.’

 

The significance of the Quarantine Station and its bushland and coastal surround is difficult to separate from the significance of North Head as a whole. This significance has been recognised in the attempts, over the past decade, to achieve a unified planning, conservation and management approach to North Head as a place.

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation

Policy No. 2

North Head Conservation and Management

 

Proposed draft policies, as enumerated by the EPA Act ‘section 22’ Committee and the NPWS North Head liaison Committee [as spelt out in the draft North Head Planning Strategy ] relate to  land use and built environment, cultural heritage and natural systems. These policies are relevant to the boarder North Head management context of North Head .

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation

Policy No. 3

Quarantine Station and the Former School of Artillery

 

The interim Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has also identified the importance of an integrated and cohesive management, planning and conservation approach to North Head. The Trust has stressed that there is a need for integrated management and conservation planning of the former Defence property and the adjacent Quarantine Station property. The Trust’s submission in relation to the 1992 NHQS Conservation Plan reads, in part:

‘… The Trust would like to stress that it believes there is a strong cultural relationship between the Artillery School site, to be managed by the Trust, and the Quarantine Station and that these linkages should be explored in detail. The Trust is keen to work with the National Parks & Wildlife Service in arriving at the best outcome for North Head.’[1]

Coordinated planning of the former Artillery School site, and the Quarantine Station site should be undertaken, in order to ensure the best ‘cultural’ outcomes for both sites.

 

8.2.2          Statement of Significance :

                   Aboriginal Heritage[2]

 

Aboriginal people have occupied the Sydney Basin for at least 20,000 years. The Harbour has been a focus for habitation since its creation around 6,000 years ago. There are few sites on Sydney Harbour that recognise Aboriginal ownership, and their former occupation of the Sydney Basin.

 

The policies which arise from this significance are the recognition of Port Jackson and the Harbour as one of Australia’s most important Aboriginal cultural landscapes as the first location of sustained ‘cultural’ context from 1788 onwards; and the development of an integrated approach to the management of foreshore lands taking into account sites and localities, along with opportunities for contemporary interpretation.

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation

Policy No. 9

Interpretation of Aboriginal Sites

 

North Head was a site where the Cameraigal Aboriginal clan first saw the European settlers. The sense of Port Jackson in its ‘pre-contact’ days can be felt at North Head for there are views from the Quarantine Station to the south-west which are still free of urban development. These landscape elements and characteristics are considered valuable in providing a context for contemporary Aboriginal interpretative work.

 

An interpretive policy that is based on the landscape ‘values’ of North Head could be the development of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at North Head [or alternatively, at Middle Head] from which interpretative projects, education programs, employment and training and Aboriginal site management can be delivered. Such a centre could be a focus for visitor experiences such as tours, performance, displays and Aboriginal community development projects.

 

It needs to be understood that all [non-building] archaeological remains within the QS study area will include Aboriginal material. The relocating, survey and documentation of Aboriginal sites needs to be undertaken. Current community access to Aboriginal sites is inappropriate and could result in damage to or destruction of the sites, and current site tours/visits in Quarantine Station areas are not managed by Aboriginal people.

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices

Policy No. 7

Aboriginal Heritage Values

 

Policies to address these issues include the evaluation of work to date on Aboriginal sites within the study area; the identification of gaps in documentation and outline directions for further survey work prioritising unsurveyed areas likely to have increased public use; the development of strategies to limit and manage access to Aboriginal sites while providing alternative visitor experiences; and the development of Aboriginal management policies and procedures as required.

 

There is the potential for the Quarantine Station to be the site for education programs for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, particularly in relation to young people. There are also opportunities to provide employment and training for Aboriginal people on the site. This is especially important in relation to interpretative work, cultural tourism programs, Aboriginal tours and retail activities.

 

Policies to address these issues include the development of the site to accommodate an education program in liaison with Department of Education; and to investigate the development of an Aboriginal employment program as an integral part of future management of the site.

 

8.2.3          Statement of Significance :

                   Colonial/Modern Heritage

 

The large number of buildings at the Quarantine Station provides opportunities for uses compatible with the significance of the place. However, because of the significance of the surviving fabric and spaces making up the Station, there are restricted opportunities for the introduction of new buildings or interior alterations to service new uses.

 

To retain the place’s significance, strict controls must be exercised over all physical works, especially the removal of existing fabric and the construction of new buildings, structures or other elements. Works in this context include landscape changes, colour schemes, signage, new parking and maintenance or replacement of services.

 

Refer

Section 9:

Compatible Adaptive Re-use Policy No. 2

Former Buildings/Site Elements

 

As the arrangement and spacing of buildings was critical to the function of the Station, and is now one of the aspects which allows this function to be demonstrated, the spatial arrangement within and between precincts needs to be respected. The current configuration of the place, reflecting discrete functional precincts, should be retained. In part the meanings of the place are echoed in these spatial relationships. Interpretative approaches, such as the reconstruction of the fences that divided different areas, might reinforce this element of significance.

 

The cultural landscape qualities of the place’s village-like setting and natural topography would be diminished by unsympathetic new development, landscaping or further clearing of bushland. The place is especially visible from the harbour and adjacent residential areas and vantage points. Work to existing buildings, structures and landscape, as well as any new development, must respect the place’s visual appeal and should maintain the existing bushland setting.

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices

Policy No. 2

Supplementary Conservation Documents and Approvals

 

Because this Conservation Plan covers the complex collection of buildings, sites and spaces that make up the whole of the Quarantine Station, assessment and policies are developed at a level appropriate to that large scale of generalisation. There is a need to develop more detailed supplementary conservation documents [such as discrete conservation plans] for each functional area of the station, and for major buildings and building groups. Such supplementary conservation documentation would be consistent with the significance assessment and policy directions given in this conservation management plan.

 

8.2.4          Statement of Significance :

                   Natural Heritage

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation

Policy No. 11

Scientific Research

 

Considered alone or ecologically as part of North Head, the Quarantine Station area includes significant geodiversity and biodiversity components of the natural heritage of New South Wales.

 

The Station is part of an isolated cliff-bound tied island complex formed by the interaction of strong bedrock and erosion associated with changes of sea level tens of thousands of years ago. The headland is capped by Pleistocene high-level sand dunes which also occur in the Station complex. The stream at Collins beach is one of the few perennial streams entering Sydney Harbour and was a primary factor in the selection of the site for the Quarantine Station. Springs feeding the streams at Collins Beach and Quarantine Beach are unusual in rising at the boundary between high-level dune sands and largely impermeable Hawkesbury Sandstone.

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices

Policy No. 5

Flora and Fauna Recovery Plans

 

The natural biodiversity consists of isolated, remnant and disjunct communities, populations and species, six of which are scheduled on the Threatened Species Conservation Act [NSW] 1995. In addition to the threatened plant species there are over 450 other species of vascular plants and ferns representing 109 plant families. This level of genetic diversity is scientifically interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

 

The endangered population of Little Penguin is significant as the only population of this species which breeds on the mainland of NSW. The characteristics which have enabled this population to persist in one of the busiest commercial harbours in the world are interesting for scientific study. The endangered population of Long-nosed Bandicoot is also scientifically interesting as a remnant population of a species which was formerly common and widespread in the Sydney region. The few remaining trees of Camfields Stringybark are a significant component of the entire genetic resource of this vulnerable species. The preparation of Species recovery plans need to be continued with future long term assessment of species primarily protected in conservation reserves.

 

8.3             Conservation and Management Policy Issues :

                   NHQS : Statutory Obligations

 

8.3.1          Statutory Obligations :

                   Preamble

 

The management of the Quarantine Station has to be in accordance with the statutory obligations that apply to the land and the management agency. There are many statutory matters that the NPWS has to take into account in its day-to-day management and in any development within the Station. Some Acts with the greatest impact are discussed below.

 

8.3.2          Statutory Obligations :

                   NPW Act

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices

Policy No. 5

Flora and Fauna Recovery Plans

 

The Service’s management of the Quarantine Station derives from its functions as defined in the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 [as amended]. Under this Act the Service can acquire places for the protection of their historic and other values. The Act requires the preparation of a Plan of Management for each managed area, and must consider any historic places within the Plan. The management of the Quarantine Station, and hence this conservation management plan, is within the context of the Plan of Management for Sydney Harbour National Park [SHNP PoM].

 

The National Parks and Wildlife Act also provides the primary basis for the legal protection and management of Aboriginal relics within NSW. The disturbance, removal or destruction of relics is regulated through a system of consents to destroy, which are issued by the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife or by delegated authority. Application of these powers usually requires an archaeological survey of any proposed development area prior to development. Except where destruction of a relic or relics is or will be demonstrably unavoidable, the present policy of the NPWS is to require the conservation of all relics within their original location and context.

 

Whilst the NPWS carries the legal responsibility for the care and control of National Parks, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974, the Act also imposes on the Service a State-wide responsibility with regard to Aboriginal heritage values. The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment [Aboriginal Ownership] Act 1966 No 142 amends aspects of the 1974 Act as well as aspects of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 and the Land and Environment Court Act 1979 relating to certain lands of Aboriginal cultural significance.

 

These Acts form the basis for policies regulating the allocation of rights and responsibilities [as well as associated procedures] between the NPWS and relevant Aboriginal stake holders, in this case represented by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council [MLALC].

 

A current NPWS mission statement is found in Visions for the New Millennium[3] : ‘… the mission of the National Parks and Wildlife Service is to work in partnership with people throughout NSW to protect, restore and enhance nature and the cultural heritage of NSW’. In relation to Aboriginal heritage, the NSW NPWS recognises and respects the fact that the Aboriginal community has a fundamental right to be part of any decisions made about the future of its heritage and heritage locations.

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation 

Policy No.6

Conservation Philosophy

 

NPWS has stated that although it is not economically possible to preserve all sites and relics under its care, ‘… the only acceptable reason for their destruction is conflicting land use practices which are judged to be unavoidable and of more importance than the preservation of sites’.[4] Part of the function of a National Park is held to be the preservation of samples of Aboriginal sites, which means that sites within a National Park should be afforded a level of protection not usual for other sites.

 

North Head is one of a few areas within the Sydney Harbour environment where Aboriginal heritage values have been retained in a physical setting that is substantially intact. This setting could allow the Aboriginal community to educate the younger and future generations as well as the wider community about Aboriginal history, life styles and values. It also provides a chance of experiencing some of the atmosphere and quality of traditional Aboriginal life. The Aboriginal community, represented by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council [MLALC] is anxious to do this through carefully developed interpretive programs.

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation 

Policy No.7

Aboriginal Heritage Values

 

Whilst aspects of Aboriginal heritage values are embedded in or embodied by physical remains such as images or deposits with archaeological material remaining as evidence of past Aboriginal presence, these are seen as an inseparable part of the present natural setting; the vital background against which Aboriginal life can be interpreted. Future non-Aboriginal land use and planning for the North Head area, including the Quarantine Station, should not affect and modify the present ambience.

 

The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 also provides the basic provisions for the protection and management of biodiversity and geodiversity within reserves declared under the Act and for native plants and animals wherever they occur within the State.

 

8.3.3          Statutory Obligations :

                   Environmental Planning and Assessment Act

 

The provisions of Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 No. 203 [EPAA] apply to NPWS and to any developments at the place in relation to one or more of the environmental planning instruments [EPIs] , including, but not limited to, SEPP 56 and The Manly Local Environment Plan 1988 [LEP] . The EPA Act [refer above] requires the assessment of all impacts to items of heritage Significance.

 

Where development consent is not required, the environmental assessment provisions of Part 5 apply to activities carried out directly by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. A simple interpretation of these provisions would indicate that NPWS would be required to consider any environmental impacts which may arise from any proposals for use of the site. Substantial

proposals will require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement [EIS].

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation 

Policy No.14

The EPA Act

 

Further provisions under Part 5 of the EPA Act may apply in relation to the species of flora and fauna on the site if proposed activities are likely to have a significant affect on the environment, any critical habitat or threatened species, any populations or ecological communities or their habitats. Since one or more species in the study area could be affected, a Species Impact Statement [SIS] may be prepared and it must be taken into account by the approving authority.

 

Other planning instruments relevant to North Head and the Quarantine Station include the Sydney Regional Environmental Planning Policy [SEPP] No. 23 and SEPP No. 56; and the Sydney Harbour and Tributaries Waterside Control Plan 1990.

 

The Quarantine Station is scheduled as an Item of Environmental Heritage in the Manly Municipality Local Environment Plan, which identifies permissible uses as those authorised by the NPWS Act. Under the requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, and especially SEPP 4, there is a requirement for the Service and its lessees to inform Council of the development works to be undertaken at the Quarantine Station.

 


8.3.4          Statutory Obligations :

                   NSW Heritage Act

 

The Heritage Act 1977 requires that significant places managed by the NPWS be listed in the NPWS Heritage and Conservation Register [the Section 170 Register]. The NPWS must recognise and respect the significance of places in the S. 170 Register in its management of them. The Heritage Act 1977 also controls disturbance of historical archaeological sites across the state, including on NPWS managed land. Section 4 of the Act applies to ‘relics’, a relic being: ‘… Any deposit, object or material evidence relating to the settlement of the area that comprises New south Wales, not being Aboriginal settlement, and which is fifty or more years old [S.4[1]].

 

The entry of Quarantine Station on to the Section 170 Register of the NSW NPWS carries with it the obligation to ‘… maintain identified heritage items in accordance with the best practice heritage management principles issued by the Minister and guidelines issued by the Heritage Council. In addition, [the Council requires that] annual reports of those agencies will need to include a Summary of Heritage Items listed in their S.170 registers and a statement on the condition of the State significant heritage items in the care of the agency’.

 

As an item of state significance the Quarantine Station has been added to the NSW State heritage Register, which lists those items which are of high significance for the state.  Protection for items is equivalent to a permanent conservation order under the Heritage Act.  Normally any development would require that a S.60 application is submitted to the NSW Heritage Council, who would act as a determining authority for the proposed application.  Normally development of a state-significant item would not be approved without a conservation management plan being prepared and endorsed.

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation 

Policy No.14

The NSW Heritage Act [as amended]

 

The Heritage Council can exempt all works undertaken in accordance with this Conservation Management Plan, thus avoiding the need for the Service or any other manager to obtain approval for all works other that maintenance to the minimum standards.

 

It is illegal to disturb or excavate land to discover, expose or move a relic without a permit issued by the Heritage Council of New South Wales. Excavation permits are usually issued subject to a range of conditions that cover matters such as analysis and reporting requirements, artefact cataloguing, storage and curation. Limited authority to issue Excavation Permits is currently delegated by the Heritage Council to the NPWS.

 


8.3.5          Statutory Obligations :

                   Australian Heritage Commission Act

 

The listing of the Quarantine Station on the Register of the National Estate means that any Commonwealth Government authority should take no action which might adversely affect the place, unless there is no feasible and prudent alternative. The authority must notify the Australian Heritage Commission of its intentions and additional environmental impact assessment might be required of the authority. This notification may also be triggered in the case of Commonwealth funding to the Quarantine Station.

 

8.3.6          Statutory Obligations :

                   Sydney Harbour Foreshore Act

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practice

Policy No. 14

SEPP 56

 

The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Act 1998 No 170 does not apply to the North Head Quarantine Station.

 

8.3.7          Statutory Obligations :

                   State Emergency Planning Policy No. 56

                   [Sydney Harbour Foreshores]

 

Gazetted areas of Service estate are exempt from the policies of SEPP 56, although the policies need to be considered when proposals for re-use are being considered.

 

North Head is classified as Schedule 1 land in SEPP 56. Schedule 1 land is considered as ‘State significant development’ within the Policy. The key principles guiding SEPP include:

             Increasing public access to, and use of, land along the foreshores of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River;

             Improving public access links between existing foreshore open space areas;

             Maintaining a working-harbour character and functions by the retention of key waterfront industrial sites and maritime activities where possible;

             Protecting the significant natural and cultural heritage values, including marine ecological values; and

             Increasing opportunities for water-based public transport.

 

SEPP 56

DUAP plan, 1998

 


8.3.8          Statutory Obligations :

                   North [Sydney] Harbour Aquatic Reserve

 

The North [Sydney] Harbour Aquatic Reserve extends from Cannae Point [North Head] in the east to Kilburn Towers [Middle Harbour] in the west. It was gazetted for protection in 1982 as it contains a great variety of habitats and marine life, including seahorses and sea dragons, grey nurse sharks and juvenile tropical fish.

 

NSW Fisheries whose role it is to protect sensitive and representative fish habitats manage the Reserve. They impose limits on leisure fishing activities in the Reserve, although commercial fishing is allowed.

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation

Policy No. 12

Aquatic Reserve

 

The Aquatic Reserve contains sheltered bays and inlets that provide seagrass and algal habitats for the juvenile tropical fish and the sea horses and sea dragons and other important species. These areas are under great stress from pollution and run-off, which affect the health of the seagrasses and hence the sustainability of the species. Human activities such as the commercial fishing, waste dumping and boating are causing a negative impact on the marine bio-diversity in the Reserve. The ferry wash at Manly pier is disturbing the sea bed and the commercial fishing activities are responsible for a reduction in numbers of species due to by-catch. Stormwater run-off is responsible for nutrients in the Harbour, which is affecting the health of the sea grasses from all areas of North Head.

 

8.3.9          Statutory Obligations :

                   Threatened Species Act

 

Refer

Section 6.3.7:

Threatened species of plants and animals

 

The Threatened Species Act 1995 amendments to the environmental assessment provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 [EP&A Act] require that consent and determining authorities consider relevant recovery plans when exercising a decision making function under parts 4 & 5 of the EP&A Act. Accordingly the NPWS, Manly Council, the Environment Protection Authority, NSW Fisheries, the Waterways Authority, the Office of Marine Administration and the NSW Heritage Council must consider the conservation strategy outlined in specific Recovery Plans when considering any development or activity which may affect threatened flora or fauna species

 


8.4             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   NHQS Opportunities and Constraints

 

8.4.1          Opportunities and Constraints :

                   Management and Leasing Options

 

The NPWS SHNP Plan of Management [1998] sets out the leasing policy for North Head, which it has pursued since 1992. The ‘actions’ for North Head are as follows.

 

‘Conservation guidelines will be prepared for the historic stone walls on North Head and the engravings within the Quarantine Station.

 

‘Tenders will be sought for the leasing of the Quarantine Station. This may include use of the area for public accommodation, conferences and/or a function centre. No new buildings will be constructed within the Quarantine Station unless they are reconstructions of former buildings or are outside the historic precinct. Any proposal which involves the construction of new buildings will be subject to an EIS which will be publicly exhibited.

 

‘Until the Quarantine Station is leased, the Service will continue to undertake a caretaker level of maintenance and to promote the cultural values of the Quarantine Station through guided tours and use of the station for conferences. Urgent works required to conserve the fabric of the Quarantine Station or to ensure visitor safety, such as stabilisation of the retaining wall near the isolation wards and of the footings of the Asiatic accommodation building, will be implemented.’

 

The Plan of Management does not specify the type of lease proposed, however the intent of the NPWS ‘actions’ is that a new lessee could take over management of the Quarantine Station, albeit under NPWS oversight and monitoring. The Service has been engaged in the current negotiation of a head lease [within detailed and strict oversight conditions] for over forty years. Implementation of lease proposals will need to be considered as a development by an EIS.  This will need to consider, among other matters, alternative possible management scenarios such as:

1.             NPWS retains ‘head’ management role and institutes selective and

                sequential sub-leases;

2.             NPWS retains complete management control and expands current

                NPWS activities [conference facilities, tours, interpretation programs] in

                order to make the site more viable; and/or

3.             NPWS retains status quo.

4.             Other management options

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation

Policy No. 1

NHQS Conservation and Management

 

The policies provided within this Conservation Management Plan must be capable of implementation by any management proposal, i.e. any of the above management profiles.

 

8.4.2          Opportunities and Constraints :

                   Appropriate Uses

 

Preamble

 

A major constraint on the management of the Quarantine Station is that the Service does not have the resources to operate and conserve the place without offsetting at least some of the management and maintenance costs with site-specific income. The Service needs to find uses for the Quarantine Station which will generate some or all of the revenue required for its operation and conservation. Related issues that influence the development of use policy for natural and cultural heritage are set out below:

 

Natural Heritage

 

Consideration of use constraints and opportunities in relation to the natural heritage must be prefaced by recognition that the Quarantine Station is part of Sydney Harbour National Park proclaimed in 1975 ‘…to protect the scenic gateway to the city and the remnant vegetation of Sydney Harbour’.[5]  Specific management objectives and the overall strategy to achieve them are specified in the Sydney Harbour National Park Plan of Management.

 

In addition to the general objectives for all NSW National Parks, the Plan of Management specifies six objectives for Sydney Harbour National Park. These are:

‘The management of the park as part of a system of lands which protect the natural and cultural heritage and scenic amenity of Sydney Harbour;

‘The restoration and interpretation of the significant natural values of the park;

‘The conservation of historic structures and their settings;

‘The interpretation of a range of historic places which illustrate important aspects of Australia’s history, including the defence of Sydney and New South Wales; immigration and quarantine; the maritime history of Sydney Harbour; and the history of public recreation on the harbour and its foreshores.

‘The provision of outdoor recreation opportunities which are compatible with the protection of the natural and cultural values of the park and complement those available in the centre of Sydney; and

‘The promotion of the park as an important, readily accessible recreational and educational resource for metropolitan Sydney’.[6]

 

The overall strategy to achieve these objectives for Sydney Harbour National Park is the preservation, and where necessary restoration, of the Park’s natural vegetation, and the maintenance and adaptive re-use of important historic places.

 

In all sections of Sydney Harbour National Park the protection of the existing natural and cultural values will be given priority. Additional strategies are identified for each Park precinct. The strategies set out for North Head are given as the interpretation of natural values; interpretation and use of the Quarantine Station; and improved walking and bus access. Specific policies and actions are presented for the natural heritage components under the headings ‘native and introduced plants’, ‘native and introduced animals’, ‘landscape’ and ‘fire management’.

 

It is clear that the protection in perpetuity of the natural values for which the Park was declared is a primary objective. The corollary to this is to prevent, or fail to allow, any activities or developments which might reduce or destroy the natural values.

 

This concept is supported by existing provisions in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 which requires the ‘determining authority’ for any proposed development to consider, when required, species impact statements which take into account recovery plans for threatened species in the area. Species impact statements assess ‘… any effect on a threatened species, population or ecological community, or its habitat’. Assessment of possible impact is formalised in the ‘eight-part test’ for threatened species. The ‘determining authority’ is also bound by the Government’s commitment to the ‘precautionary principle’ as embodied in the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biodiversity.[7] 

 

A primary constraint on use and further development of the Quarantine Station site is the requirement to conserve the native vegetation, plant and animal species and their habitats, fragile soils and geological features, springs and streams.

 

The major policy opportunities for North Head are to: restore populations of threatened plant and animal species to the point where they may be safely removed from the Schedules to the Threatened Species Conservation Act; increase understanding, appreciation and awareness of the natural heritage values of the Quarantine Station site and its position on North Head; increase understanding of biodiversity and geodiversity processes as revealed through appropriate research; develop fire management and use strategies for conserving natural heritage values on North Head and which have application elsewhere in the Sydney Harbour National Park and the Sydney Basin; and enhance visitor experience and enjoyment.

 

Colonial/Modern Heritage

 

The introduction of new uses and the adaptation of the Quarantine Station buildings and site elements, should be based on a respect for the place, its existing fabric, its use, associations and meanings, all of which are components of significance, and should ensure that as much is done as is necessary but as little as possible in order to allow a viable use and ensure conservation of the place’s significance.

 

New uses should be appropriate in relation to the original or evolved use of the building, so that its historical use and meanings can be understood. The most ‘compatible adaptive re-use’ of a place is usually that which continues one or more of its past uses, provided that this is still feasible. The more compatible a new use is to a past use, the less need there is for physical intervention in the fabric of the place. Continuation or re-introduction of a past use can also often provide a perspective from which a user can understand or experience a place. The future use of a historic building or structure will play a major part in its ongoing conservation, especially in relation to how and what physical conservation works will be implemented and how it will be interpreted.

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices Policies No. 4, 5 and 6

Flora and Fauna; Recovery Plans; and Exotic Flora and Fauna

 

Where the continuation of an existing or previous use is not feasible, a use which is closely allied to past uses probably has the next best chance of respecting the existing fabric and allowing a clearer interpretation of those past uses. In the circumstance where a new use is introduced, the impact of that use on the understanding of the place should be minimised and the past uses of the place should be interpreted, so as to demonstrate their contribution to the place’s cultural significance. All developments or use must be compatible with the retention of significance.

 

8.4.3          Opportunities and Constraints :

                   Specific Use Opportunities

 

The Quarantine Station was developed over a 150 year period with several levels of accommodation. The accommodation functions continue to this day, although most people who choose to be accommodated at the place pay to be there and stay for a few days only i.e. for the duration of the conference function.

 

Large parts of the Quarantine Station were originally used for accommodation for healthy people who, during their internment, could do little else but relax and enjoy [or fret over] their surroundings. Re-introducing this aspect of the place’s use in buildings, originally designed for that purpose, is possible, providing the contemporary demands of accommodation do not compromise the conservation of significant building fabric. The people accommodated can experience and be part of the place’s in situ interpretation. As part of the National Park, any accommodation needs to be made generally available to the public. Because of the duplication of facilities for the class division of passengers, some larger spaces such as recreation/drawing rooms and dining rooms are unlikely to be re-used for those purposes, and uses such as conference facilities associated with the accommodation use can continue compatibly in some spaces.

 

It should be understood that a continued use, or even a new use for a building may or may not necessarily involve physical adaptation of the fabric. Adaptation, in Burra Charter terms, is acceptable where the conservation of the place cannot be practically achieved by means of preservation, restoration or reconstruction, and where adaptation does not substantially detract from the place’s cultural significance. Many of the Quarantine Station buildings can be given new uses with little or no adaptation being required. Both continuing and new uses, including interpretation, may require the introduction of security and public safety features.

 

Uses will change over time in response to interpretative approaches, visitor pressures, funding availability, and changes in the consumer market. The policies in this plan do not specify particular uses for specific buildings, but provide a framework for decision-making about uses. Thus the policy framework recognises that the significance, use and meanings of groups of buildings and whole areas within the Station would suggest most-compatible uses for those areas.

 

The use of the Accommodation area for accommodation and related uses has been discussed above. The Hospital area was associated with the sick and dying, and its history and meanings should be sensitively recognised in new uses. Group accommodation would not be appropriate, though special small-scale accommodation in medical officer quarters may be compatible. The most appropriate overall use would be for interpretation.

 

The Wharf area has a high degree of significant specialised contents and fittings relating to quarantine processes, and uses which respect these contents and fittings are appropriate uses for this area. Evening and/or early morning activity at the wharf could impact on the nesting activities of the Little Penguins [behind Quarantine Beach] and could also impact on nocturnal animals such as the Long-nosed Bandicoot. Impact on natural heritage will be assessed through environmental assessment processes.

 

The buildings in the Isolation area have value for interpretation, especially their location and internal arrangement, but could also be adapted for renewed use, such as accommodation. The Administrative precinct has buildings suitable for a variety of uses, such as a continuation of the administrative/security role they currently fill.

 

8.4.4          Opportunities and Constraints :

                   Construction of New Buildings

 

The Quarantine Station evolved over 156 years as an area of isolated land on which the only buildings were those associated with its quarantine function. The surviving configuration of buildings and sites reflects a Station at the end of its operation, and this in turn is most heavily influenced by the redevelopment carried out by the Commonwealth after the First World War, and in the 1950s. An attribute contributing to the significance of the station is the general unity of building design and the direct relationship between layout and functions of quarantine exhibited by the surviving fabric.

 

In this context any decisions about introducing new buildings has to be considered very carefully. This Conservation Management Plan concludes that no new buildings should be introduced into the developed area of the Quarantine Station [that is, the area defined by the cleared vegetation and mown ground, and containing the built elements of the place, and bushland islands within and ‘embayed’ by the cleared areas], except in the circumstance outlined below. New buildings outside this developed area should be clearly justified; should not require the removal of more bushland; should have little or no impact on archaeological remains; should not conflict with significant vistas or views of the station or its buildings; should not require above ground easement lines for services such as power and water and should be environmentally acceptable.

 

There are no former buildings for which it can be argued that their reconstruction is essential to conserve the significance of the place, or to fill major gaps in the understanding and presentation of the place. Reconstructions would, in fact confuse the evidence of the evolution of quarantine practice demonstrated by the surviving buildings and layout, so a substantial reason would be needed to contemplate such an action. Exceptions to this could include reconstruction of fences which existed to define the boundaries between the different classes of accommodation or a reconstruction of the Third Class area.

 

This Conservation Management Plan allows for reconstruction of a building on the location of former buildings under strict conditions. These conditions are as follows:

 

Refer

Section 9:

Comparative Adaptive

Re-use Policies No. 3 and 4

New Buildings; Former Buildings/Site Elements

 

             That they be constructed only when their proposed functions are essential to the conservation, interpretation or management of the Quarantine Station and cannot be satisfied by the use of existing buildings;

             That they would not diminish the significance of existing buildings, objects, sites or cultural landscapes;

             That they do not confuse the interpretation and understanding of the Quarantine Station’s significance, but rather enhance it;

             That they are limited in extent to the footprint of former buildings;

             That reconstructions are built to the external form, with appropriate materials, but with their modern origin marked in some way able to be seen on close inspection;

             That new buildings are built to a scale and design sympathetic to the former building and nearby surviving buildings, but not replicating exactly original designs, and being recognisably new additions;

             That they do not damage areas of significant archaeological evidence or geomorphological importance;

             That they do not require the introduction of soil and gravel which may be contaminated with soil borne pests or diseases which could adversely affect the existing vegetation; and

             that they be environmentally acceptable.

 

8.4.5          Opportunities and Constraints :

                   Adaptation of Existing Buildings

 

The grouping and external form of the buildings at the Quarantine Station have been recognised as contributing to its historic, aesthetic and social significance. Many buildings also have added significance because of their internal arrangement, furnishing or equipment. Preservation, restoration or reconstruction are, theoretically, the preferred conservation process for all buildings. In practice adaptation is likely to be required where appropriate conservation cannot be achieved by the other processes alone, such as when a decision is made to use a building for purposes requiring additions or changes to the fabric. Adaptation would not be appropriate in buildings with highly significant interiors, layouts, machinery and contents, other than minimum adaptation to allow an interpretative use.

 

Supplementary conservation documents for specific areas or buildings will need to identify components of high significance; identify appropriate conservation policies and procedures for adaptation works to operate within the framework established by this Conservation Plan; and respond to any development proposals to modify them so as to retain significance.

Given the complexity of the Quarantine Station and its numerous elements, the studies undertaken for this plan only deal with individual elements at a broad level, giving general policy direction and guidance. For most elements, constraints on physical intervention in their fabric and surrounds can only be identified through more detailed assessment in a supplementary conservation document.

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices

Policy No. 3

Supplementary Conservation Documents and Approvals

 

Supplementary conservation documents might include site, building or area conservation plans, conservation implementation strategies specific to the building or area, or conservation guidelines to assist in appropriate practices consistent with established policies and implementation strategies with conservation impact assessment. Conservation plans, for example might be needed for whole areas, while conservation guidelines might be required to guide particular works practices across the site. All supplementary conservation documents will be consistent with this Conservation Management Plan.

 

8.4.6          Opportunities and Constraints :

                   Appropriate Levels of Use

 

Refer

Section 9:

General Conservation

Policy No. 15

Visitation and Use Capacity

 

The ability of the Quarantine Station to accommodate higher levels of use is an issue of concern. There is a clear concern that the fragile environment might not be able to sustain high levels of use and that if measures are not put in place to identify and respond to emergent information then the place would be at risk of being damaged. In a sense this issue relates to the ‘carrying capacity’ of NHQS site.

 

A new research initiative by the NPWS, with input from universities and industry in a study of ecologically sustainable tourism in the Australian Alps, considers five key phases of analysis that would appear to be suitable to apply at North Head. They are the establishment of context, identification of risk, evaluation of risk, limitation of risk and monitoring of risk. This approach to sustainability and conservation of fragile environments should be pursued at Quarantine Station.

 

8.5             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   NHQS Other Elements of the Place

 

8.5.1          Other Elements of the Place :

                   Preamble

 

Given the complexity of the Quarantine Station and its numerous elements, the research undertaken for this Plan only deal with individual elements at a broad level, giving general policy direction and guidance. For most elements, constraints on physical intervention into their fabric and surrounds can only be identified through more detailed assessment in a supplementary conservation document. Nonetheless the following policy discussion is offered.

 

8.5.2          Other Elements of the Place :

                   Site Works

 

While individual components of the site works and services may not necessarily be of high significance, their variety provides a ‘picture’ of development over a considerable time. There are probably few institutional sites which can offer a similar perspective. This, and the rarity of some components, justifies their retention in situ wherever possible, whether or not they continue to be used in the future. At the very least, representative samples of all surviving elements or their components should be preserved as part of the record.

 

8.5.3          Other Elements of the Place :

                   Archaeological Sites

 

Refer

Section 9:

Archaeological Evidence Policies No. 1, 2 and 3

Archaeological Relics; Identification; and Historical Archaeological Relics

 

The Quarantine Station is archaeologically sensitive and any work which disturbs the ground surface should either be preceded by test excavation, or be monitored by an archaeologist in accordance with the Archaeological Management Plan. Archaeological sites should be included in the sample of preserved place elements.

 

Archaeological evidence is more extensive than the narrow definition of ‘relic’ used in the NSW Heritage act.  It includes, at the Quarantine Station the inscriptions, the record of physical changes in use and function captured in building fabric and the spatial relationships of artefacts and human activities.  The date at which relics provisions commence is 50 years under the NSW Heritage act but under the NPW Act Land Management regulation there is a requirement to consider ‘any object, deposit or material evidence…older than 25 years’.  Even this much more recent cut off date would result in the loss of archaeological material associated with the Quarantine Station’s operation.  The 1984 date at which the quarantine Station was handed over to NSW remains the most appropriate date before which all deposits and artefacts and archaeological evidence should be assessed.

 

Consideration needs to be given to the significance of the individual archaeological deposits, assessed in accordance with current Heritage Council guidelines, the potential contribution that can be made by the removal and investigation of such deposits versus the contribution to the significance of the place gained by their retention,

 

8.5.4          Other Elements of the Place :

                   Historic Inscriptions

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices

Policy No. 10

Inscriptions

 

The significance of these elements and their susceptibility to vandalism warrant strict controls over public access. In addition, the inscriptions in Building A20 should be preserved in situ and kept visible. An interim report on the ‘Conservation of Rock Engravings at the Quarantine Station’ was completed by NPWS in March 1999 . This report provided management recommendations for the Wharf area inscriptions, and the Old Mans Hat inscriptions. General recommendations on Visitor Management and Monitoring are also provided.

 

8.5.5          Other Elements of the Place :

                   Artefacts and Moveable Heritage

 

Refer

Section 9:

Conservation Practices

Policy No. 9

Moveable Heritage

 

The significance of most artefacts is context-dependent and, where their condition allows, the artefacts are best understood in their original locations. Artefacts should not be moved off-site except where this is the only resort available for their conservation.  The Heritage Act of 1977 provides protection for moveable heritage and the Heritage Council Guideline on Moveable Heritage states that:

‘… Moveable heritage assets are often linked historically to a particular place and are identified accordingly in a heritage study or conservation plan. This historic link means that the removal of the item from the building or site may diminish the heritage value of the site and the item. For this reason it is always preferable to protect moveable items in the place with which they are associated.’

The ownership of some relics associated with the Quarantine station, which were claimed by the National Museum of Australia prior to the Station’s return to State ownership is still not established.

 

8.6             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   NHQS Other Policy Issues

 

8.6.1          Other Policy Issues :

                   The Condition of the Place

 

Refer

Section 9:

Monitoring

Policies No. 1 and 2

Condition of Fabric

 

The buildings and sites comprising the Quarantine Station range from good to poor condition. Run-down prior to hand over in 1984, there have been attempts to systematically address maintenance requirements, but these have lacked sufficient resources to maintain the entire site. There is a maintenance backlog on some buildings which has led to deteriorating condition, and many sites [especially the inscriptions] are in varying degrees of deterioration through weathering. The condition of the place does not severely diminish its significance or limit its capacity to be used to interpret its stories. It does, however, emphasise the need for a number of policies and implementation strategies to improve regular maintenance and monitoring of condition and threats to elements of the place.

 

The artefact collections housed at the Quarantine Station are housed in a number of locations, with many being housed in buildings A20, A2 and H15. With the exception of one building [H15], these repositories are inadequate for artefact storage, and the condition of the artefact collections are deteriorating significantly. The management and housing of the station’s artefact collections needs to be addressed with some urgency.

 

Monitoring of visitor number and condition of fabric, and the establishment of limits of change, especially for the more fragile components of the place, become important policies in the context of potential impacts of increased visitation.

 

8.6.2          Other Policy Issues :

                   Previous Planning for the Place

 

There have been a number of official and unofficial planning documents prepared for the Quarantine Station and individual components since the 1980s. A conservation plan was prepared by Travis Partners in 1987[8] . This was followed by a revised conservation plan reworked by NPWS in 1992[9] , taking into account comments received on the original plan. Many of the elements of assessment and policy development in the 1992 plan have been incorporated or further developed in this Conservation Management Plan.

 

A range of formal and informal studies have been prepared, some professionally, for individual buildings and precincts .  These should be consulted when further conservation planning is undertaken.

 

8.6.3          Other Policy Issues :

                   Community Consultation

 

There are a number of groups within the community with strong associations with the Quarantine Station, Port Jackson, and North Head areas; or an interest in its ongoing use and management. These groups include the Aboriginal community; the various components of the Manly and wider community with natural and cultural interests in North Head; former Quarantine workers and inmates and their families.

 

Clearly, the establishment of the Reference Working Group to provide community comment within this Conservation Management Plan has contributed a positive and useful input to the Plan.

 

The future management of the Quarantine Station should acknowledge these interests in the place, and put in place mechanisms that ensure real liaison and consultation on issues relevant to the interests of these various groups. It is likely that this consultation would be most effectively organised as a part of an overall Sydney Harbour National Park approach to this issue, as the interests of most of these groups extend beyond the boundaries of the Quarantine Station.

 

8.6.4          Other Policy Issues :

                   Research

 

Research on the history of the Quarantine Station is ongoing, and should be encouraged by this conservation plan. Research involving non-interventionist study of the fabric of the place should also be encouraged, and in some cases will be essential in developing implementation strategies to give effect to this plan. Research that involves disturbance of fabric [such as building material research and the investigation of archaeological remains and deposits] should be subject of policy and implementation strategies to ensure such work is undertaken with full consideration of the significance of the place, the need to maximise conservation of those values, and the desire to minimise damage to fabric reflecting those values.

 

Research and survey is required into the flora and fauna as identified in Gaps in Information Chapter 7 to gain a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of species particularly those classified as threatened. This information is essential to the preparation of recovery plans for those species for which these plans still have to be prepared. It is also essential baseline information for monitoring required in recovery plans.

 

Detailed soil surveys are required before any new buildings or roadworks including parking areas are constructed. Research and survey is also required into visitor response to interpretative programs and other uses of the site and regular monitoring of visitor impact on soils, building fabric, flora and fauna.

 

8.7             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   NHQS : Public Access

 

Given the State and National significance of the Station, and its capacity to illustrate its significance through its surviving fabric, there needs to be a high level of public access and interpretation. Uses that fundamentally constrain public access to any area of the site need to be carefully managed, as interpretation maybe incomplete without access to all precincts. Previous Service management has recognised this basic requirement. The policies on ‘sampling’ of areas for protection and interpretative purposes are designed to avoid such exclusion and to maximise the potential to use the fabric to tell the full range of stories associated with the place.

 

Refer

Section 9:

Public Access and Interpretation

Policies No. 1, 3, 4 and 5

 

State Environment Planning Policy 56 [SEPP 56] contains guiding principles for access to and from foreshore areas in public control. These guidelines include: increasing public access, and use of, land on the foreshore; the retention, management and use of land made available for public access or the use of other appropriate tenure mechanisms where public ownership is not possible; and the retention and enhancement of public access links between existing foreshore open space areas. These guidelines were written with the aim of compensating for the high proportion of harbour foreshore which is in private ownership and therefore not accessible to the public.

 

These guidelines are relevant to the planning for use and access to the Quarantine Beach and Wharf area, and the bays and headlands to the north. However, the nature of access to these areas must also take account of the need to provide optimal habitat conditions for the recovery of the Little Penguin population, and public access should be planned around, and if necessary constrained by, that requirement.

 

The level of site usage over recent years has been steady but low. The site has been attractive to school groups and private tour groups on day visits, to the individuals and groups who have booked the accommodation and conference facilities, and to people on the organised special feature visits such as the Ghost tours. Even though this level of use has been sustainable, it has resulted in damage to the flora and fauna and site values, such as native animal road kill and the erosion around current ‘temporary’ car parking areas. Managing access and visitor behaviour would be key concerns to reduce further impacts.

 

One method of moderating car access to the site is to increase visitor access by public transport unfortunately, public transport service to the station has been reduced. During the first years of NPWS management of the Quarantine Station, site visitors were able to gain access to the site by means of bus service run by the Manly Bus Company. The service ran frequently between Manly Wharf and the Quarantine Station. Late in 1998 the Manly Bus Company ceased to provide this service, which was then replaced by a Sydney Buses [State Transit] service No. 135 which operates daily between Manly Wharf and the Quarantine Station. On week days there are fifteen services each day and ten services on weekends. Visitors are set down at the roadway entrance to the Quarantine Station from where they can commence their visit in the visitor centre. However this arrangement is only available for daytime visits as there are no services after 5.00 pm.

 

8.8             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   Interpretation

 

This Plan recommends the preparation of an interpretation plan to coordinate interpretative planning and design. The supplementary area and building conservation documentation should inform and be incorporated into the interpretation plan. Interpretation should be recognised as a new or ongoing use, which may or may not require adaptation of fabric. The same safeguards imposed by policies about new buildings, new uses and adaptation of buildings, should equally apply to interpretation works.

 

A number of new methods of site interpretation could be introduced with benefits for access. In particular, site visits involving water access via the wharf, and orientation at the wharf precinct, could greatly enhance the experience of visiting the Quarantine Station. To this effect it is recommended that a new water access by small tender from Manly [such as the former Quarantine Launch  ‘Jenner’] could be used to promote access to the site so that the experience and the interpretation process will begin even before the visitors reach the site. This interpretative and access proposal should only be considered as part of an environmental assessment of possible impact on seagrass beds and Little Penguin is carried out.

 

Evidence of commercial arrangements should be carefully design to comply with conservation requirements. The shop should be out of view, perhaps inside the laundry [c.f. Tathra Wharf].

 

An Aboriginal site tour and education program should be considered, also from the wharf. The site visit could leave from the wharf and proceed via the beach without going into the Quarantine Station. If visitors wish to tour the Quarantine Station, they could be deposited and orientated at the Wharf for a Quarantine Station visit.  Or they could depart the site by bus to Manly Wharf. Impacts of such visitation on the Little Penguin nesting sites must be assessed.

 

8.9             Conservation and Management Policy Issues:

                   Monitoring, Documentation and Review

 

Recording of all management decisions and processes, and all conservation actions should be undertaken in full. Comprehensive monitoring should also be undertaken to ensure that the NPWS would be in a position to intervene when necessary to protect the values of the place. As indicated previously monitoring must include soils and terrestrial and marine flora and fauna. Within the scope of NPWS responsibilities.

 

The resources centre, although neglected, will provide the genesis of a resource facility that should be developed and promoted as a centre for wider research and site management in particular.



[1]               ISHFT letter to Peter Freeman Pty Ltd, 3 December 1999

[2]               These policy issues [and related strategies] are informed by consultation with the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council [MLALC] and by advice from Dr Laila Haglund, consultant.

[3]               MFE 1998: 24, 30

[4]               NPWS 1986

[5]               SHNP PoM, NPWS, 1998

[6]               NPWS, 1998

[7]               National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biodiversity, Commonwealth of Australia, 1996

[8]               Travis Partners. 1987. Quarantine Station Conservation Plan.

[9]               NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1992. Quarantine Station, Sydney Harbour National Park, Conservation Plan, NPWS, Sydney.

Aboriginal
Heritage

History
Immigration

Buildings
in 1999

Carvings
on site

Residents
in the past

Natural
Environment
Conservation
Plan
This page was created 23rd January, 2000, by Judith Bennett,  Friends of Quarantine Station,
and was last modified 20th January, 2007.