Space as place

Space, or the spatiality of being, has no meaning unless it is understood as place – space as existence for Dasein. In quarantine, the Dasein of internees takes on a sense of urgency in its thrownness (Geworfenheit) in the extraordinary being-in-the-world (In-der-Welt-sein) that the quarantined state of being demands of them in the form of spatio-temporal regimentation. In the history of Australian quarantine as it relates to immigration, this regimentation was never purely medical, but was determined also by the contemporary politics of class, gender and race. 

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Topology of oppression

In the history of the North Head Quarantine Station, oppression of internees by the health system of the time varied in degrees at different localities on site. It was not this or that locality in quarantine that determined the degree of oppression, but the type of internees isolated in a particular locality. In other words, human typology went hand in hand with quarantine locality, but the relation between the two was arbitrarily determined by the health authorities, who organised space in the physical environment of the quarantine station based on historical precedents, which inevitably involved trial and error, and contemporary expediency and policy demands.

With the advent of the White Australia Policy since 1901, the question of race entered into quarantine administration. National health, which quarantine was supposed to protect, also became a matter of racial hygiene. The scientific basis of quarantine became ideologically eroded by the irrationality of racism.