Stories from the Sandstone: Quarantine Inscriptions from Australia’s Immigrant Past


Arbon Publishing, 2016

Stories from the Sandstone reveals the sandstone engravings of those who found themselves detained at Sydney’s Quarantine Station during its 150-year history. From the early 1830s until 1984, nearly 16,000 people passed through the doors of the Quarantine Station in North Head near Manly.

For over a hundred years it served as the gatekeeper between potentially sick immigrants – as well as some sick residents  – and the colony and country beyond. Of those who went in, some recovered and were released, while others never made it out. During those years, the soft sandstone that the station sat on served as a permanent diary, as patients who had arrived from all corners of the world began carving unique messages and images into the surrounding rock.

The book, Stories from the Sandstone, is the culmination of a three-year project run by the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney, which integrated the work of archaeologists, historians and heritage practitioners to investigate these engravings left behind at the Quarantine Station.

Dr Peter Hobbins, a historian at the University of Sydney, co-wrote the book alongside Associate Professor Annie Clarke, also of the University of Sydney, and Dr Ursula Frederick from the Australian National University.


$30.00 collect from History House or $40.00 postage within Australia

Orders can be collected from:
Royal Australian Historical Society
First Floor
History House
133 Macquarie Street
Sydney 2000

Note: For delivery outside Australia please contact the RAHS as the shipping cost will depend on your location.