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Quarantine Station

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Date : 28th October, 2012
The Heritage Council has approved the Mawland plans for rebuilding Buildings P21 and P23 in a style suitable for tourists rather than for students despite vigorous protests about the impact of doing this.
Click here to read more.

Date: 26th October, 2006

The Government has leased the Quarantine Station to Mawland.

Date : April 02, 2006

The Quarantine Station Lease is floundering due to Mawland parting ways with its proposed operating partner, Ecopoint, and the loss of its financial backing. This fact is now confirmed by the Department of Environment and Conservation; yet it still offers Mawland a further extension of a couple of months to locate another partner.
This situation presents the best opportunity the public has had to demand an alternative integrated management plan for the whole headland; one that is compatible with the Sanctuary planned for the School of Artillery by the Commonwealth-funded Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
Local MPs, Independant David Barr, Liberal Brad Hazzard and Manly Mayor Peter Macdonald all call on the State Government to rethink the future of Quarantine Station to create a green gateway to Sydney Harbour instead of a privatised boutique hotel. Michael Richardson, shadow Minister for the Environment is suggesting that the Quarantine Station Bill be re-introduced.
Heritage Listing for North Head
The application was lodged 16th August 2004. Even though Federal Minister for the Environment was given an extra 6 mths to make a decision concerning the Heritage Listing for North Head, as of April 6th 2006, no announcement has been made.

Date : 17th July, 2004

Flotilla Float Past - protesting against the leasing of the Quarantine Station

Some of the boats that carried banners of protest to waters off Quarantine Station beach.

There was a flotilla of protest in Sydney Harbour on July 17th 2004 from 10:30am onwards to register the desire of the people of NSW for a halt to the leasing process.

Banners were displayed on boats that
sailed past the Quarantine Station.

Participating kayaks returned to shore.
Protestors gathered on Quarantine Beach and displayed signs reading "Public Heritage - Not Private Profit".

Sign saying Public Heritage

NPWS would not permit protestors to use the wharf so protestors waded to shore from this boat - including elderly women one of whom is 82!

The word "Not" is out of the picture.
The sign actually said "Not Private Profit".

Television crew hovered around in this helicopter

Date : 30th June, 2004

Nomination for Heritage Listing

Some of our committee, working with Manly Council, completed a nomination application for the whole of North Head (including Quarantine Station) to be listed on the new National Heritage List; established in January. This nomination was endorsed by the National Trust (NSW) on 30th June and forwarded to National Trust (Aust) for submission to Federal Environment Minister Kemp on 16th August, 2004.

Date : 13th May, 2004

Regrettably, when the Quarantine Station Preservation Trust Bill 2003 had its second reading on 13th May 2004, the Labor majority in the Legislative Assembly defeated it.

Date : 30th April, 2004

Stateline interviewed our President Sue Sacker, and asked to film a FroQS meeting held in Manly library meeting room on 20th April. As customary on Stateline, program balance was offered by way of interview with the new NPWS Director Tony Fleming. The program aired on 30th April and left viewers with an incomplete and somewhat misleading message that the deal was 'sewn up' and going to happen; which we acknowledge is still the Government's intention.

Date : 7th April, 2004

On page 3 of the 7th April Sydney Morning Herald there was a letter published urging
Premier Carr not to sign a lease to Mawlands over the Quarantine Station.
The letter was signed by more than 100 people representing many organisations including environmental groups and political parties.

Click here to read the content of the letter and the list of signatories.

Date : 30th October, 2003

Click here to see how YOU could respond and make a difference.

Today the Quarantine Station Preservation Trust Bill 2003 was passed in the Upper House of NSW Parliament. This welcome move saw the Liberals and Greens making amendments to the Bill and the Bill being supported by all parties except Labor and all the Independents.

The Bill defines the membership and functions of a Trust which will comprise 7 members - an Aboriginal representative, and 6 other members representing National Parks and Wildlife Service, a heritage expert, the National Trust, National Parks Association, Manly Council and the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment.

The Bill places restrictions on the duration of any lease, and bans head leasing, leasing of the whole site to one entity and onselling of the lease.

Importantly, the Bill has requirements for the Plan of Management - this must be integrated with management of North Head and in particular contain:
a) a traffic, transport and parking plan consistent with an ecologically sustainable traffic, transport and parking plan for all of North Head
b) an Interpretation Plan for the Quarantine Station site that is integrated with an Interpretation Plan for North Head and
c) an integrated biodiversity management plan that incorporates recovery plans for threatened species.

It is now incumbent upon the Carr Government to either support this Bill or introduce a
Car-rang-gel Sanctuary Bill that would be acceptable to all parties and achieve the integrated management needed for North Head.

Date : 23rd August, 2003

There are three private member's bills before the NSW Parliament and due to be discussed in September, 2003.

Each of these is aimed at either stopping the Quarantine Station leasing process, reducing the time of the proposed lease or putting a moratorium on leasing until such time as the Car-rang-gel Sanctuary is fully established on North Head.

About 500 people marched from Parkhill Gate to
Quarantine Station on June 3rd in protest about leasing.

Date : 5th August, 2003

The 261 Submissions to the draft Amendments to the Sydney Harbour Plan of Management are being assessed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) who will refer these to the NPWS Advisory Council for comment.

A large number of these submissions were objecting to the inclusion of Mawland Hotel Management Pty Ltd plans within the Plan of Management for North Head and to the fact that there is no mention in the draft amendments of the need for the Quarantine Station to be managed as part of the proposed Car-rang-gel Sanctuary.

There were a number of speeches when people arrived at
Quarantine Station on June 3rd in protest about leasing.

Date : 11th June, 2003

NSW State Government announced on 6th June that the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning had decided that the EIS for the Mawland Proposal for QS is acceptable.

Friends of Quarantine Station are planning a walk from the Parkhill Arch (near Manly Hospital) to the entrance of the Quarantine Station on Sunday 15th June starting at 11pm to emphasise the fact that the lease has not been signed and that the proposed lease is NOT ACCEPTABLE to the community.

People displayed banners saying "Keep Public Lands in Public Hands" during the rally at Quarantine Station on June 3rd in protest about its leasing to Mawland Hotel Management Pty Ltd.

There is a more visionary approach taking shape for North Head involving integrated planning across all tenures and managing all the public land on the headland as an ecological Sanctuary, protecting the biodiversity and focusing on the recovery of threatened species.

Date : 20th March, 2003

NSW State elections take place on 22nd March, 2003. The Liberals have stated that, even if a lease had been signed on Quarantine Station, they would reverse it.

No lease has been signed. The Democrats, the Greens and many independents as well as the Liberal Party are vowing to ensure that the Quarantine Station is not leased out to a private developer. Premier Carr has yet to announce his position concerning the Quarantine Station.

The Protectors of Public Lands (PPL) have put the Quarantine Station
at the top of the list of issues about which the Government is being called upon
to reverse their current position and set in place measures to ensure
public ownership and control of public lands.
The photo is from the launch of the PPL election 2003 campaign
at Observatory Hill on 9th March, 2003.

Posters have been placed all around the city depicting Premier Bob Carr's ear with the words "Bob Carr, are you listening? Keep public lands in public hands."

Mary has erected the Quarantine Station banner in her front yard in addition to the Protectors of Public Lands poster.

Early in February, the Heritage Council approved the Mawland development but with over 200 conditions. Friends of Quarantine Station are calling on Dr Andrew Refshauge, Minister for Planning, to refuse this inappropriate development and on Premier Bob Carr to announce a new vision for Quarantine Station and North Head which does not involve a head lease with a private company.

Date: 12th September, 2002

The North Head Sanctuary Foundation was formed on 31st August, 2002 in response to a Forum conducted by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife Service at which the idea of the whole of North Head being an ecological sanctuary was discussed.

Members of the not-for-profit Sanctuary Foundation include several environmental organisations, research groups, Manly Council and individuals committed to the idea of a Sanctuary for biodiversity that allows for indigenous and cultural heritage to be authentically preserved and honoured.

Date : 12th May

June 14th is the closing date for comments on the Declaration of Critical Habitat for Little Penguins.

Click here for information and suggestions about points you could make.

Date: 21st April, 2002

23rd April is the closing date for comments concerning the conditions PlanningNSW would put on the project if the Mawland Proposal were to go ahead.

Date : 19th April, 2002

On 18th April, 2002, Mr Bob Debus, Minster for the Environment announced the Recommendation for the "Identification of Critical Habitat for the Endangered Population of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) at Manly". The recommendation is for areas Little Manly Point, Spring Cove, Quarantine Beach, the jetty and Cannae Point and waters nearby out to 50m from high water mark to be declared critical habitat.

Date : 1st April, 2002

During February and March 2002 the Commission of Inquiry was  open for the public and during this time the National Parks and Wildlife Service together with paid consultants, barristers and staff of Mawland Hotel Management Pty Ltd presented their proposal and justifications. Many members of the public, including highly qualified volunteers, made presentations concerning the reasons why the proposal was unacceptable.

The Thursday before the Commission of Inquiry began, there was an explosion in the hospital building at the Quarantine Station and it burned down detroying priceless, irreplaceable heritage.

 23rd October, 2001

Early on Saturday 13th October, a fire destroyed the Third Class accommodation building.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposal to use the QS as a hotel was under public discussion at this time.

The NPWS have employed security guards to prevent any further vandalism.

It is difficult to predict the ways in which this will alter the economic viability of the proposal under discussion via the EIS.

Burnt out shell of the Third Class Accommodation building.

Annual General Meeting

The Friends of Quarantine Station Inc Annual General Meeting on September 23rd 2001 passed a resolution calling on the Government to halt the leasing process for the QS because it is fundamentally flawed.

Click here to read the full text of the resolution that has been sent to the Premier, the Environment Minister and the Minister for Urban Affairs.

Click here to read a media release sent by NPA to newspapers and radio stations.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Mawland proposal for the QS was released on September 17th with public comment invited through until November 9th. The documents are available for viewing at Manly Library and Manly Council Chambers and on Internet  - Click here to see the EIS!

The Aboriginal Heritage Study has been released but the recommendations of the consultant have not been published.

 The NSW parliament has made public the entire document entitled "Conditional Agreement to Lease the Quarantine Station" which was signed on January 24th, 2000.

Urban Affairs minister, Andrew Refshauge, has announced a public inquiry into the future of the Quarantine Station site.  This will probably take place about a month after the close of public comment on the EIS.

Protectors of Public Lands

Friends of Quarantine Station Inc has joined a coalition of groups from around Sydney. Each group has the same concern - the sale or lease of significant public lands.  It is envisaged that groups from other parts of New South Wales will join the coalition in protest against the lack of full community consultation in decision-making concerning the future ownership and/or management of an array of public assets - schools, hospitals, open spaces, heritage sites, etc - that have high value to the public.

Resources for Protecting Heritage Places

The Australian Heritage Commission have prepared a kit containing key documents which guide both natural and cultural heritage conservation actions.  The National Parks and Wildlife Service are providing extra training for their staff in the necessary processes for management of heritage places.

Interpretation Plan for the Quarantine Station

The Conservation Management Plans call for an Interpretation Plan to be prepared before April 2001. This has not been done as at Sept 2001 by the National Parks and Wildlife Service who are  responsible for this site.  Manly Quarantine Station is a place of national, international, historical and social significance.

Mawland Hotel Management has prepared an interpretation plan. Is it reasonable to rely on an Interpretation Plan prepared by a proposed lessee? 
Will there be public input into the Interpretation Plan?

On June 7th, 2001, the Heritage Council moved to endorse the revised Detailed Area Conservation Management Plans for Quarantine Station (DACMP) documents provided that 35 changes were made.

Lease agreement
On June 5th, 2001, the conditional agreement to lease the Quarantine Station was tabled in Parliament and can be viewed only by members of the Upper House and these members cannot take notes or copies of any part of the document.

On March 15th, 2001, the Heritage Council moved that

1. the HC would not endorse the DACMP documents
2. the HC would not approve public exhibition of the DACMP documents in their current condition.
3. the HC will send the DACMP documents back to the
NPWS for improvement.

Questions concerning process

Click here to see a report about the 26th February, 2001 lunchtime visit to the Quarantine Station during which many serious questions were asked.

Serious questions have been raised about why the restrictions in the Conservation Management Plan concerning adaptive re-use of the luggage sheds on the wharf were removed from the CMP after the working group had clearly indicated that any use other than interpretation/tours was unsuitable. The Wharf is very close to Aboriginal human remains and it is insensitive to consider using the luggage sheds on the wharf  for eating. 
(Mawland Hotel Management P/L are currently revising their plans concerning the issue of restaurants on the wharf.)

Detailed Area Conservation Management Plans

The National Parks and Wildlife Service commissioned a consultant, Paul Davies, to prepare detailed area Conservation Management Plans for the five precincts within the boundaries of the proposed lease area of the Quarantine Station. Public involvement via a working group began on October 31st, 2000. The final draft of this document was delivered to members of the working group on March 6th 2001. That draft has not yet been ratified.

Aboriginal Heritage

The National Parks and Wildlife Service commissioned an enquiry into the Aboriginal heritage of North Head which was presented to the Service in November. The Aboriginal Heritage Consultant spoke to the Annual General Meeting of Friends of Quarantine Station on November 19th, 2000, about the significance of North Head.

Penguin Recovery Plan 

The NPWS has prepared a Penguin Recovery Plan which does not exactly define the critical habitat for the little penguins. Under the Threatened Species Act, the NPWS has a clear responsibility to protect any likely critical habitat - including any habitat that is within the area proposed for lease to Mawland Hotel Management Pty Ltd.

However, in October 2000, the NPWS registered extra areas of inhabitation by penguins - including areas that are within the Sydney Harbour National Park near the Quarantine Station. The Little Penguins of Manly are still listed as an endangered colony.

There are six listings at North Head that justify protection under the law. NPWS is writing Recovery Plans for some of these, the others need to be written as well.

Background Information:

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), on January 24th, 2000, signed a conditional agreement to lease the Quarantine Station site to Mawland Hotel Management Pty Ltd for 45years subject to approval via an Environmental Impact Statement.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service refused a Freedom of Information request to release a copy of the conditional agreement to lease the Quarantine Station. The matter was  referred to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal -  the hearing took place on 11th & 12th July, 2000. The ADT upheld the decision to withhold much of the Conditional Agreement to Lease the Quarantine Station but the NPWS did provide a copy of those sections of the lease that had to do with the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage. We believe that the parts that have been withheld under "Commercial in Confidence" are mostly to do with financial arrangements including a deal between the minister and the proposed developer.

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal deliberated upon how much of the Conditional Agreement to Lease the Quarantine Station it would order the NPWS to release. We understand that the case hinged on deciding under what conditions the public interest can over-ride all other considerations. Judith Bennett of Friends of Quarantine Station and National Parks Association made the application. James Johnson, formerly of the EDO was the barrister. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre provided solicitor services. The evidence was about the various concerns the public had - environmental impact, heritage values and whether commercial imperatives will mitigate against proper conservation. There was evidence produced from several other public entities that are also concerned - Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Nature Conservation Council and National Trust all were cited.

This agreement was signed in January,2000, even though the new Conservation Management Plan was still at the stage of being viewed and discussed by the general public. The Conservation Management Plan was approved by the Heritage Council on 18th April, 2000. 

Mawland plan to create a hotel in the First and Second Class areas thus effectively closing them off from the general public. There is a 150 seat restaurant planned for the wharf. (Note: this part of the plan - the restaurant at the wharf - may well be modified due to the level of protest and sensitivity about this issue.) They also plan to operate tours in the wharf and hospital areas and educational activities in the 3rd class and Asiatic areas.

Mawland are planning to contribute $100,000 per year towards the conservation of the site and also pay some rent but the details have not been disclosed. We have been told that the NPWS must fund an officer fulltime on site and maintain the natural environment of the site. Meanwhile, the NPWS will lose the considerable revenue they have been earning over the years from the Conference Centre and tours.

Here are some press releases  and Newspaper articles:

Friends of Quarantine Station press release 28-01-2000

National Parks Association press release 28-01-2000

Sue Sacker press release 31-01-2000

Information vital to assess impact -  Manly Daily article (28/4/00)

This page was created 7th October, 1999, by Judith Bennett, 
and last modified 28th October, 2012