The history of Camp Quaranup.
The Commonwealth Quarantine Station, Albany, was established in 1875
as a consequence of West Australian Government officials being
quarantined on Rabbit Island (Mistaken Island) and having to live in
tents with basic rations and ablutions. The ensuing outcry and
increasing migration to Western Australia forced the Government to plan a
small quarantine station on an isolated parcel of land across the
harbour at Vancouver Peninsula. As immigration increased more buildings
were added, in particular between 1898 and 1904.
The main reasons
for increased immigration were wars in Europe and South Africa and the
subsequent huge displacement of people, and the opening up of vast
tracts of agricultural land and the discovery of gold in Western
Australia. Quarantine measures were also increased as people from all
over the world poured into Western Australia. Some immigrants brought
deadly diseases with them, thus starting epidemics. As ships were
quarantined, the passengers were sent to the quarantine station.
immigration declined in the late 1900s, and with advances in medicine,
the quarantine station became less used and was eventually closed in the
1930s. Between the 1930s and 1950s several community groups used it but
gradually the station fell into serious disrepair.
quarantine station was then privately leased to the Wheeler family in
1956 and the name was changed to Camp Quaranup. Eventually, the State
Government took over the lease and ran it primarily as a recreation
Rob and Jo Lucas operated Camp Quaranup as a recreation
camp for 19 years from 1992, facilitating recreation programs and
accommodation opportunities for Western Australians.
Department of Sport and Recreation now operates Camp Quaranup,
continuing to deliver recreation camp services in one of the few intact,
working ex-quarantine stations in the world.
The harbour town of Albany was originally
chosen as the site for the State capital. Located 406km south of Perth,
Albany is the major centre on the Western Australian south coast and the
oldest European settlement in the State. It is hard to imagine a more
ideal harbour. The seas of the Southern Ocean can lash this coast with
wild storms and the notorious southern wind, 'the Albany Doctor', can
blow the ocean into a fury. Yet the sailor can enter King George Sound,
and then, through a narrow channel between Point King and Point
Possession, enter the quiet waters of Princess Royal Harbour.
was established as a penal colony. The coastline had been sighted by
Europeans as early as 1627 when Pieter Nuyts sailed across the Great
Australian Bight in the ship Gulden Zeepaardt. Nuyts' report of the land
was such that the Dutch showed no interest in settlement. It was on the
basis of the maps drawn by Nuyts that Jonathan Swift, when writing
Gulliver's Travels, located the land of the Houyhnhnms almost exactly at
the present site of Albany. With some kind of extraordinary vision,
Swift had Gulliver land on the coastline, eat oysters and be chased by
Aborigines. He could not have known that George Vancouver, 65 years
later, would enter one of the bays of King George Sound and name it
Oyster Harbour because of the abundance of oysters he found in the
The second European to visit the area was George
Vancouver, who entered King George Sound in 1791. Vancouver spent two
weeks in the area, during which time he named Bald Head, Breaksea
Island, Michaelmas Island, Oyster Harbour, Seal Island, and took
possession of the area at Point Possession and declared "This port, the
first which we had discovered, I honoured with the name of King George
the Third's Sound, and this day being the anniversary of Her Royal
Highness Princess Charlotte Augusta Matilda's birth, the harbour behind
Point Possession I called Princess Royal Harbour."
report on the area was not good. He suggested that the soil was poor and
the local Aborigines (he had not seen any of them) were extremely
The next explorer to visit the area was Matthew
Flinders who arrived at King George Sound in July 1801 and he was
followed by Nicholas Baudin who stopped in the sound on 11 February 1803
and stayed until 1 March, noting the poor soils of the region but
fascinated by the seemingly endless wildflowers. By the 1820s, the area
was being visited with some regularity by explorers and the whalers and
sealers who worked in the Southern Ocean. The turning point for Albany
came on Christmas Day 1826 when the brig Amity entered King George
Sound. The brig brought Major Edmund Lockyer and some troops and
convicts. It had been decided some years earlier, partly to protect
Australia against possible French settlement and partly because the
British Government wanted to close the penal colony at Port Macquarie
and open the surrounding area to free settlers, to establish Western
Australia's first penal colony. Lockyer chose the site of present day
Albany (a small stream ran into Princess Royal Harbour near where the
replica of the Amity now stands) and it was officially proclaimed on 21
January 1827. At the time it was named Frederickstown after Frederick
Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, the second son of King George III.
Lockyer reported on the town site in April 1827. He made the observation
that it was extremely difficult to sail from Sydney to Albany. He did,
however, point out that, being the only deep water harbour on the south
western coast, it was very important strategically. Events overtook
these limitations when, in 1829, a colony was established on the Swan
River and its location, being superior to that of Albany, ensured its
continuing existence and growing prosperity.
Albany never did
become a penal colony. It remained nothing more than a military outpost
of New South Wales until on 7 March 1831 it was proclaimed as part of
the Swan River Colony (the previous year a small group of explorers had
travelled overland from Perth to Albany) and later that year the town
was surveyed and blocks of land were sold to free settlers. Any
prisoners who had not completed their sentences were returned to New
South Wales. The following year, the name was changed to Albany. By 1836
maps of the town showed York Street running down to the harbour and
Stirling Terrace sweeping along the harbour foreshore.
the most fascinating of all Albany's early visitors was Edward John Eyre
who, with his Aboriginal companion Wylie, arrived in the town on 7 July
1841 and stayed for a week at Skerrats Family Hotel on the corner of
Stirling Terrace and York Street. There can be few more potent
historical experiences than to stand on the corner and imagine Eyre,
having just walked from South Australia across the Nullarbor Plain,
standing on the corner of the tiny town 150 years ago.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.