Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park
Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park features an historic Quarantine Station. The remaining Queenslander style buildings, constructed in 1915, are maintained as offices for the EPA/QPWS.
A small museum offers an insight into the quarantine history of the area. Visitors can experience a touch of the past in a scenic coastal setting. Walking tracks pass by abandoned WW11 gun emplacements with sweeping views of Townsville and Magnetic Island.
Things to remember:
>> The park shares boundaries with the RAAF Radar Station. Entry to this area is prohibited.
>> Fires may only be lit in the BBQ's provided in the picnic area.
>> Domestic animals are not allowed on this park or the adjoining marine park area.
In 1875 the first quarantine station for the port of Townsville was established at West Point, Magnetic Island. Here passengers on incoming ships could be isolated from the mainland if they were carrying contagious diseases.
The isolated site at West Point was difficult to supply and maintain. In 1915 the entire Quarantine Station was relocated to Cape Pallarenda. The Old buildings were disassembled and transported by barge to Pallarenda, where a new jetty was constructed. A new road ran from the township through what is now the airport and the Town Common.
People with diseases were quarantined here until 1973, but only 13 fatalities were recorded. These unfortunate Vietnamese deck passenger died from meningitis in 1920.
The remains of gun emplacements and search light towers can be found scattered around the headland. During WW11 this area was used by the American and Australian Armies. Camps were set up on nearby beaches and the Quarantine Station was used as a hospital.
An Australian Army hospital was also located here from 1966 until tis relocation to Lavarack Barracks in 1974. The buildings were then used by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority until the area was declared an Environmental Park in 1986.
Flora and Fauna
Beyond the Quarantine Station, open woodland and vine thickets support a variety of animal life including the yellow-bellied sunbird.
Soaring in the thermal air currents over many Peaks Range, large birds of prey such as brahminy kites and white-bellied sea-eagles are often seen.
Around the picnic area brush-turkeys scratch in the leaf litter and agile wallabies come out in the late afternoon to feed on the grass. Sand goannas are often seen scurrying across the road.
Things to do
Short tracks to the beach pass by shady picnic areas and toilet facilities. Walking tracks take in many points of historical and natural interest.
At the end of the road, a short track past the museum leads to the remains of the old jetty, destroyed by a cyclone in 1971. From here, walking tracks lead up to the World War 11 gun emplacements and on to the Graves Circuit.
The graves Circuit takes you through woodland and vine thicket and across a weir built in 1925 to improve the water supply to the Quarantine Station. It then leads you down to the graves of the Vietnamese passengers who died here, and past the back of the Quarantine Station to the carpark.
Marine Park zoning
Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park adjoins a Marine National Park A Zone. Here, fishing is limited to one line per person and there are limits on the crabs and oysters that can be removed.
Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park is situated at the end of the Cape Pallarenda road 10km from the Townsville GPO. The gates are open from 6.30am to 6.30pm. The historic quarantine museum is open from 6.30am-5.00pm Mon-Fri and 6.30am-2.00pm Sat-Sun.
For more information, please contact:
Reef and National Parks Information Centre
PO Box 1379 Townsville MC TOWNSVILLE QLD 4810 (07) 4721 2399