In the 19th century, North Head in Manly, Sydney, became established as Australia’s oldest quarantine station. SBS Australia has chronicled the evolving archaeological study of this historic site. Over 13,000 migrants from all over the world were quarantined there between 1828 and 1984. Archaeologist Annie Clarke says around 580, 600 people died and were buried in three cemeteries at the station. Many more became ill, while others survived and were resettled in Australian society. Clarke is studying over 100 inscriptions on the site, put there by migrants, and her team of researchers are also interviewing descendants of these migrants who arrived by sea.
“It was not clear who were passengers and who were crew yet. We’ll work that out. But there are many non-Anglo names. So it’s not just a story of English migration. You’ve got Chinese, you got Japanese crews coming through. There are names that appear to be Portuguese and Arabic of course as well.
“One of the interesting things is, as we do more research on the ships and shipping companies, it’s clear that Australia was really globally connected in the 19th Century that again it’s not just British ships and British shipping companies. You’ve got shipping companies that operate out of China.”
Source: SBS News.