New book delves into history of Woodman Point quarantine station

Author Ian Darroch at the Quarantine Station.
Author Ian Darroch at the Quarantine Station.

THE Woodman Point Quarantine Station has had a long but somewhat unknown history since its construction in the 1880s.

While many locals would know of the station’s existence, these days as a recreational camp, few would be aware of its use as a place where the sick, diseased and dying were isolated from the rest of the population.

Author Ian Darroch has delved into this history in his new book Western Sentinel, which was launched at the Quarantine Station earlier this month.

Darroch said he first became interested in the area’s history through his old school friend and former Friends of Woodman Point president, Earle Seubert.

“Because of Earle’s passion for the history of the old Quarantine Station we decided to collaborate in the recording of its past, Earle would do the heavy lifting of researching this comprehensive topic and I would shape his efforts into what would hopefully be an interesting book,” he said.

“Earle was absolutely meticulous in his endeavours, scouring old newspapers, local history texts, interviewing past residents of the quarantine station and examining commonwealth and state archives.

“The premise of the book is to record a comprehensive history of the Woodman Point Quarantine Station not previously attempted; starting with the quarantine requirements for the early settlers of the Swan River Colony and recording all major events, some light-hearted, many tragic, which followed until it was eventually closed in 1978.

Mr Darroch said some of the things he learned while writing the book surprised him, including how many well-known people had spent time isolated in the building.

“Perhaps the most surprising aspect in this research for me was the wide range of ‘celebrities’ who had served time in quarantine including the United States’ Consul to WA, the founder of the world-wide Salvation Army movement William Booth, World War II fifth-columnist Nancy Krakouer and the entire MCC English touring cricket team of the 1920-21 season to name but some,” he said.

Copies of Western Sentinel can be purchased by contacting the Friends of Woodman Point online.