I’m looking forward to joining a group of teacher/librarians for a short tour of the Quarantine Station on Thursday as part of the Catholic Teacher/Librarian Professional Learning conference held in Manly this week.  It’s a chance to showcase this wonderful site (the most intact quarantine station in the world – and probably the creepiest!) and also talk about my novel Ghost Boy which has a timeslip to the QS in 1881 during a smallpox epidemic, when conditions were so bad that a Royal Commission was held – the report providing me with a wonderful source of information to use in my novel.  Students studying Ghost Boy can do a special ‘Ghost Boy tour’ of this stunning site, helping the story ‘come alive’ in their imagination as they walk in the footsteps of my characters.  Pictured are the autoclaves used to steam and cleanse everything, including delicate silk and wool fabrics belonging to the passengers (which would probably have rendered them completely unfit to wear afterwards!) The second picture was taken on the inaugural ‘Ghost Boy’ tour many years ago. I’m sitting on a bed in the old hospital with ‘Constable’ Brian McDonald, the NPWS ranger who devised the original tour and who is wearing the uniform of one of the policemen who would have patrolled the grounds at that time. And I’m reading an extract from my book: ‘Tad felt sick. The air was thick with the smell of carbolic acid, raw onion and the stench from the commodes. It suffocated him. But he couldn’t leave Mary-Anne’s side. Not yet. It was too soon. Anyway, maybe she wouldn’t die. Maybe she’d get better, then they could leave this terrible place …’ 

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