Racial determination: Innengard and Utgard in quarantine and in society

Major quarantine stations in Australia such as North Head and Point Nepean, which segregated non-Europeans from European Australians and European immigrants, each acted, in its historicity, as the contested ground for the opposing forces between strategic oppression by the white authorities and the passive resistance of the coloured internees. On the general level, the same forces were being played out in Australian society as a whole under the White Australia Policy. Quarantine stations were microcosmic reflections of the highly racially determined Australian ethos of the time, which rejected any notion of an integrated citizenship but preferred the ancient dichotomy of Innengard and Utgard as described in the Old Norse sagas. In terms of public health control, this allowed for populist scapegoating of those outside the white Innengard as sources of dangerous infectious diseases that threatened to bring down its superior order, progress and prosperity.


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