This ANZAC Day, after nine years and $17.3 million, Australia's historic icon and former Quarantine Station re-opens its doors to the general public as 'Q Station'.
The former Quarantine Station, is set to re-open its doors to the general public as Q Station this ANZAC Day, 25 April, offering accommodation and conference facilities with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour; Defiance, an immersion theatre experience designed by founder of Carlton Lamb Productions and award winning former acting tutor at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), Carlton Lamb; the Boilerhouse Restaurant situated close to the beach; paranormal tours and Destination Spa (open late 2008). Tuesday 27 May, marks the official launch - further details to follow.
Set on 30 spectacular hectares, located at Sydney's North Head near Manly, Q Station offers the unique blend of serenity and relaxation, situated only 15mins from the heart of Sydney's CBD. Thanks to Mawland Quarantine Station Pty Ltd and the talents of Managing Director, Max Player and General Manager, Simon McArthur and his team who have invested more than 9 years and $17.3 million into this refurbishment, Australians can reclaim and enjoy this revered national icon. Along with the Sydney Opera House, it is listed on the National Estate - one level below World Heritage significance.
The decision made by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to lease the former Quarantine Station to a cultural tourism operator, not only removed a major cost to the government to undertake catch up conservation work and ongoing maintenance of the site, it also pays a commercial rent that can be used by the Department of Environment and Climate Change to enhance conservation in other parts of the Sydney Harbour National Park. This decision was made when NPWS judged that they could not raise enough funds to return the Quarantine Station to a fit condition that ensured its cultural significance was maintained. Under the new arrangement, twenty cents in every dollar collected from customers is reinvested back into conservation of Q Station or Sydney Harbour National Park.
Visitors to Q Station will be engaged by the historical relevance of its former purpose as 'a quarantine station for contagious disease'. From the 1830s to 1984 migrant ships arriving in Sydney with suspected contagious disease stopped inside North Head and off-loaded their passengers and crew into quarantine to protect local residents from becoming sick. In some instances, Sydney residents suspected of contagious disease were removed from their homes and quarantined with the immigrants. Also home to a significant collection of historical Australian artifacts, Q Station houses a 170 year old collection with more than 5,000 items.
"The Luggage Store Visitor Centre will feature about 500 heritage items that have been restored by heritage conservators, a retail outlet and an introduction to the site for booked tours and casual visitors." said General Manager, Simon McArthur.
Memorabilia surrounds you and echoes the experiences of that time. Chinese and English inscriptions in the sandstone wall near The Luggage Store illustrate the multicultural mix of immigrants into Australia. The inscriptions tell tales of the segmentation between first and third class accommodation; the difference was like 'being on holiday' versus 'arriving in the wild'. For total immersion in Q Station, 'as it was' visitors are invited to Defiance, an immersion, multi-media theatre show set in the original laundry and hospital on site. Or if you're looking for a tactile experience and want to explore your interest in the paranormal there are several tours and activities to satiate your appetite.
Visitors to Q Station will be instantly relaxed and on their path to rejuvenation, just by being there. The sweeping harbour views, spectacular sunsets and lull of the sea can't help but calm even the most anxious nerves. Q Station is the perfect getaway. Whether you're on your own, with your partner or in a group, various activities such as early morning jogs, kayaking and tranquil bushwalks will keep you entertained. Alternately those looking for quiet time to soul search can wander the grounds and take company in the local wildlife and marine environment.
Q Station has begun taking bookings for conferences and functions and will soon take bookings for accommodation.
Water access has been arranged through Water Taxis Combined which will carry passengers from Circular Quay, Manly Wharf, Darling Harbour and Mosman.
Room Rates are now available on the website. There are 75 rooms and 6 cottages. For reservations please call (02) 9976 6220www.qstation.com.au