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Quarantine: History, Heritage, Place

14-16 August 2014

An international conference convened by historians, archaeologists and heritage scholars from the University of Sydney

University of Sydney Organizing Committee: Alison Bashford, Annie Clarke, Ursula Frederick, Peter Hobbins.


For enquiries, please contact:
Tiarne Barratt

Conference historic image (State Library of NSW)

The practice of quarantine has always been grounded in contested locations. The history and heritage of quarantine stations and places of isolation the world over remain in these landscapes, as built environments and in artefacts. In this way, sites of segregation have been both enduring and ephemeral. These vestiges intersect in powerful ways with memory and history, but what is being invoked? Who – or what – were the actors bound up by quarantine regulations? How can the material, documentary, legislative and spatial heritage of quarantine help us untangle narratives of global movement that were interrupted by incarceration?

Encompassing people and pathogens, vectors and vessels, flora and fauna, this conference seeks new interpretations of the place of quarantine. Moving in scale from intimate marks made by internees to multi-site or cross-regional comparisons, we seek to bring together maritime histories of quarantine with analyses of the inland islands of terrestrial quarantine. Above all, we hope to prompt surprising and productive conversations between archaeologists, historians, cultural and human geographers, and heritage scholars.

This international conference builds from a large multidisciplinary investigation of more than 1,000 sandstone inscriptions that cover the stunning Quarantine Station in Sydney, Australia. This unique site will form our venue for the conference, inspiring themes that are both local and global: mark-making, isolation, identity, and place.

Medallions at Old Man

Medallions at Old Man's Hat

Registration fees  
Early registration: 3 days $250
Standard registration: 3 days $300
One day registration $100
Student registration: 3 days $150
Conference dinners - speaker Booker Prize novelist and historian, Thomas Keneally  
Conference dinner, 15 August $100
Conference dinner, 15 August (students   $50
NB: Buffet dinner 14 August is complementary with 3 day registration  

Click here to register


To purchase extra dinner tickets please click here


Diphtheria 189x Australia

Keynote speakers:

  • Nadav Davidovitch – Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
  • Gareth Hoskins – Aberystwyth University, Wales
  • Harold Mytum – University of Liverpool, England
  • Nayan Shah – University of Southern California, USA
  • Alexandra Minna Stern – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Full list of speakers and abstracts for keynotes here

Online booking is now availabe!
View from quarantine accommodation

Please note: The University of Sydney is currently holding a block booking for 14-16 August 2014, which will expire 30 June 2014. After this, rooms will be subject to availability, so we advise that you book your accommodation early.’

Accommodation harbour view

Click here to book your discounted accommodation
North Head Scenic Drive
Manly NSW 2095
Location details and map