The Mortuary. Although it's not the prettiest building, the Mortuary played an important role at the Quarantine Station.
Built of brick and stone in 1885, the Mortuary was divided into two sections, one half disinfection/fumigation and sulphur storage area, the other the mortuary. In 1918 there was a worldwide outbreak of Spanish Influenza, a virulent strain of flu which ended up killing millions of people worldwide.
The Quarantine Station played an important role in preventing its spread, and crew from the S.S. Oonah were quarantined here. Two crew members died- Charles Loaney and John Johanson and their graves are located in the grounds of the Quarantine Station.
Living history. Previous Quarantine Station Caretaker and long term Bruny Island resident Margaret Shackcloth popped in for a cuppa, and was excited to find a photo of herself during her caretaking days many years ago!
This 1886 building enabled staff to go on and off duty without the risk of carrying infected material to staff quarters. It had only pedestrian access to the isolation block which included medical quarters, hospital, observation wards, mortuary and laundry. These were enclosed by a nine foot paling fence.
Only those with suspected infectious disease and the staff treating them, needed to be inside the fenced-off quarantine area. Individuals had to surrender all clothing in exchange for new ones and go through a process of cleansing. Over the years this room would have seen various methods employed to fight infection.
It is thought that rock sulphur may have been used as a disinfectant and germ killer by burning it in pans in fumigation rooms, as early history mentions the caretakers son being 'locked in the sulphur room'. #brunyisland#brunyadventure#brunyislandquarantinestation#tasmania#australia#heritage#cleansingroom#infectioncontrol#influenza#flu
Our cheeky little Eastern Quoll is always the first to pop its head out at dusk. It's very inquisitive and has even come right up to the back door at times to check out what we're having for dinner! We need to make sure we keep the doors closed though, because they've been known to sneak inside- and being nocturnal they would party all night long in the house!
One of the many functions of the Quarantine Station was to prevent an outbreak of Influenza in Tasmania. Unfortunately this also coincided with the end of WWI, so many of our returned servicemen stopped at the Station for at least 7 days on their way home, to ensure they weren't harbouring the disease. Extremely frustrating for most after spending many months away from home, they were so close, yet so far. .
Happy World Wetlands Day! The Common Eastern Froglets (Crinia signifera) in the dam are happy after the 10mm of rain we had here at the Quarantine Station over the past few days! One starts and they all join in in chorus.
Spike the echidna is back again, nosing around the ground with an amazing ability to locate ant nests and lick them up. It's one of the fluffiest echidnas we've ever seen, possibly due to the colder climate in Tassie. But some pretty sharp spines lie under all that fur, exposed when Spike feels threatened and rolls into a ball.
View of the Quarantine Station site, showing the Medical Officer's quarters which is now the Caretaker accommodation. In the photo the Hospital, Steerage and Saloon passenger quarters (removed in the 1960's) can be seen in the background. The foundations and floor plans are still visible however.
We've always enjoyed bushwalking as a family and the Quarantine Station bushland is fantastic to explore. At 320 acres with both marked and unmarked tracks there's plenty to see, including wildflowers, orchids and remnant trees showing evidence of fires past.
Part of our role includes tending to the grave sites and German chimney, removing weeds, sticks, bark and leaves covering the graves. One has been marked with oyster shells which are easily disturbed by visits and animals moving through the site.
So despite it being Summer in Australia, it seems Tasmania has its own agenda. Some of our nights have been below 11°c so we've lit the fire. Junior caretaker (and Scout) Mitchell has taken charge of this job and is able to create a fire in the evening which keeps us toasty warm until the morning
Tonight we ventured down to the jetty to see the aquatic creatures at night. We saw Gar-fish, prawns and crabs feeding. The best part was the bioluminescence which lit up like a Christmas tree when we splashed the water. A first for the Junior Caretakers who spent hours making it glow!
And that's a wrap! Our first week as Quarantine Station caretakers comes to an end and we've had a fantastic time. Met people from all over the world and have had the opportunity to learn a lot about this amazing site. Aside from meeting and greeting, we've gotten stuck into a few of the extra chores needing to be done, such as weeding and removing the old paint from the Cleansing Station. We have a few days off now to explore beautiful Bruny before starting our second week. Can't wait!
Thanks Queen Bee honey for this little jar of deliciousness! We've found eskies dotted all over the island and we're lucky to have found one beside the gate to the Quarantine station. What's so nice to see is the honesty system, where you pay for what you take. Another example of the welcoming nature of the islands residents. #brunyisland#brunyadventure#brunyislandquarantinestation#tasmania#australia#honey
Once work has finished for the day we tend to the veggie patch. Some of produce grown is in keeping with the history of the site, for example hops were one of the plants grown on-site and are still grown today. Raspberries also remain popular- it's a battle between the Junior Caretakers who can pick the most! But at least there's no complaining about this daily chore! They are devoured for dessert every night
So this afternoon after we'd closed the station we saw a small bumbling lump from the kitchen window. We went exploring to see what it was and came across this ultra cute and fluffy #echidna
A little shy, but was still happy to check us out
We've arrived! Hit the ground running with our site induction then off to start welcoming visitors to the site. The beautifully restored Doctors residence (with resident Eastern Spotted Quoll!) will be our home for the next month.