Memorialisation

Because of the institutionalised racism against non-Europeans in Australian quarantine policy in the past, Asian heritage and history are relegated to the region of contested ground at the site of the former North Head Quarantine Station. In its current incarnation as Q Station since April 2008, which is a hotel entity with a museum inside the former Luggage Store (A15-17) at the old wharf on Spring Cove, there is a complete absence of memorialisation of past non-European presence on site. This state of affairs is in total contrast to the active and respectful memorialisation of Chinese heritage and history at the former Angel Island Immigration Station, which once served as a major quarantine station to protect the San Francisco community from dangerous infectious diseases. However, as any critical analysis of its history will show, Angel Island was also used as an institutional tool to assert the white supremacy of American society between 1910 and 1940.

At North Head, not to name white supremacy for what it is through memorialisation of past racist injustice is to allow its spectre to linger in the continued life of the site, even if the Quarantine Station now only exists as an aesthetic reduction of its former self as a public health institution of great national significance.

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