Guinea pigs

Each time guinea pigs were delivered to the North Head Quarantine Station for experimental purposes, the activity warranted an entry in the official diaries kept by the Quarantine Officers, the surviving ones of which can be viewed at the National Archives today. 

Each time a guinea pig died, a Quarantine Officer would also dutifully make an entry to record such incident – seemingly minor in view of the actual deaths of humans that took place from time to time in the Hospital Precinct. 

Viewed hermeneutically, however, the lives and deaths of these guinea pigs, while not significant in themselves, nevertheless implied something that was: the possibility of dual use research taking place in Australian quarantine stations such as North Head, in the name of developing vaccines against deadly diseases? 


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