12 March 2006

Quarantine Station

No, this is not another chapter in the Conflict of the Overseas Shipment (see above for that story). The Quarantine Station is where immigrants used to go before entering the country, where they were quarantined to prevent the spread of diseases in
Australia. Kind of like Ellis Island, except only concerned with germs. It also seemed to be a little bit more summer camp-ish than Ellis Island. By the way, next time you are in New York, visit Ellis Island, and take the (free) official tour. Best thing we did in NYC.
Anyway, while walking around on the tour of the QS, a few interesting things happened. There is a beach next to the landing wharf, and a family was enjoying the sun. At least until the little boy jumped off a pipe
and dropped his icee/slushie/ frozen treat thing in the sand. He
wasn't very happy about that, so his dad picked it up, walked to the water, and rinsed it off. In the ocean. Where people swim. Where kids pee. Where barges and ocean liners cruise by. Then he sampled it. I guess he didn't taste any sand, because he brought it back to the kid, who happily continued sucking
on his "clean" ocean-swim/kid-pee/ barge-sludge frozen treat. Yummy. Oh, but that may not be the worst of it. We found out later on the tour that the pipe he jumped off used to carry all the waste from the QS, including the bodily drainings from the autopsies performed on those who died at the QS from various diseases. I'll stop there.
The second thing that happened was Heather. We were in the building that formerly served as the hospital, when she attempted to straighten a table drawer that was a little crooked. One of the large round drawer pulls fell to the wooden floor with a loud crack, then rolled almost as loudly across the velvet barrier and under an old hospital bed. The look of horror and shock on her face was priceless. The pull was retrieved and replaced by another tour participant, while Heather kept repeating "it just fell off." She maintains it was already broken, but a quick examination of the facts reveals that the pull must have been attached prior to falling, and only became detached when she pulled on it. Verdict: Guilty as charged. She asked me a few minutes later why these things always seem to happen to her. My response was that I guess I'm just that lucky.
The pictures are rock etchings done by immigrants who stayed at the QS. Many were craftsmen, and they stayed a minimum of three months, so they had plenty of time on their hands. Over 2000 of these etchings can be found at the station, chronicling the ships, dates, and other interesting information from their voyage.

1 comment:

Heather said...

You forgot to mention you found a shark tooth on the beach.