QSwharfth.jpg (4017 bytes)Manly Quarantine Station

The Franco Family



in 1999

on site

in the past

Before 1900

1900 - 1920

1920 - 1950

1950 - 1984


Elizabeth Franco's story

In May 1971, I came with my two little sons to Sydney to live. My husband had arrived a month before us and we followed. I was 4 months pregnant when we came.

The night before we arrived, we almost did not make the flight to Sydney as the airline realised they had sold me a ticket, I was pregnant and of course didn't have the smallpox inoculation, which was a must in those days.

Anyway, upon arrival at Sydney airport, Quarantine officials were there, we saw my husband at a distance, and we were away whisked to North Head. It was a disappointing start to a new life, but my 2 sons and I spoke to my husband every evening, and he was able to bring some important personal items and clothing for us - leaving them with somebody, because he was not allowed contact with us for fear of a contagious disease I might be carrying.

There were 2 nursing sisters who were our companions for 2 weeks. They cooked and cleaned, basically looking after us, they were very nice ladies. My 2 sons learned to play cricket, which the younger nurse taught them, went for walks along the beach and just enjoyed themselves. The older nurse taught me to knit, but unfortunately knitting does not like me. She knitted a yellow little jacket for my coming baby.

A doctor came every other day, to check my skin in case I broke out in smallpox rashes, I could not convince him that it will never happen. He was just doing his job. We stayed the prescribed 2 weeks, which seemed like an enforced holiday, but very pleasant, restful, we settled in, it was the thing to do.

When the 2 weeks were over Quarantine officers again whisked us away in a limousine to our place in Randwick.

Ramon Franco's story

When I arrived at Sydney International Airport to pick them up, I was not aware of all the drama that was happening. I waited and waited at the arrivals area. Nothing happened for sometime. Most people arriving had already gone and was beginning to think something was wrong. Did she get on the plane? Did she have an accident? What was happening? I was worried.

Finally I saw a Quarantine Officer with my two boys(Michael and Erik) in hand walking towards me, all very official looking. But where was she? This did not look good. The Quarantine Officer was very nice. He explained to me the situation and why they could not let her out.

He offered to let me see her, but if I did I would have to stay with her. As I had just started in a job I declined the invitation. Then he said I could have my two boys with me, if I wanted. Again, I declined and said there was no one to look after them. So he took them back with him.

I was worried. Who was going to pay for all this? This was not looking good at all. The Officer told me not to worry as it will all be taken cared of by the government. What a relief! I was surprised, what a nice government.

I later found out more details of this. Philippine Airlines was fined by the Australian Government and my mother at the other end had made a lot of noise. PAL had sold us the airline ticket knowing full well her pregnant condition. My mother knew the President of PAL and she was taking it to the highest authority.

I went with a friend, Jose Luis Ynfante, to visit Elizabeth a few times in the evening taking the Manly Ferry across and walking up to the gates of the Quarantine Station. That was as far as we could go: to the guard house and the telephone in the guard house.

It was already late May 1971 by then and the trip across on the Ferry was very cold, something we were not used to at the time, coming from the tropics. My friend, Jose Luis, takes every opportunity to remind of this in a joking and happy memory of our start in Australia.

Michael and Erik with their mother
Family wedding at the Quarantine Station

Our daughter was born in September 1971, and when she got married in October 1998, she picked Quarantine Station for her wedding reception. The reception was in the same cottage that we stayed in, in 1971.  

Click to see past residents at Manly Quarantine Station who are grouped as follows:-

Before 1900

1900 - 1920

1920 - 1950

1950 - 1984

This page was created 23 August 2003  Judith Bennett,  Friends of Quarantine Station,
and was last modified 20th January, 2007.