It was Anzac Day, Sunday April 25, 2021. Hard lockdown had just been eased, and we were allowed to emerge into the sunlight again. I thought it was time to use the gift voucher I had been given before the pandemic, and treat my husband, Rex and myself to lunch at the old Quarantine Station.
Q Station, as it is now known, is part of Sydney Harbour National Park, located at North Head, near Manly. It was established in 1832, with the aim to stop diseases from the early immigrants spreading into the rest of the Australian population. The health threats at the time were many, among them were the Bubonic Plague, Spanish Influenza, cholera, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, typhus and smallpox.
For over 150 years, shiploads of immigrants were required to remain at the Quarantine Station for forty days on arrival. Many people spent their final days there in pain and misery, their tragic stories a reminder of dark times in Australia's past. Over 13, 000 were quarantined within its walls, and at least 572 were thought to have been buried there, though the numbers could have actually been higher. But over time, medical science, immunization and quarantine procedures improved, and the mortality rate decreased. The Quarantine Station remained in operation until 1984.
Some of the most horrendous experiences came from the building known as the Showers, where more harm than good was done to the immigrants with harsh bleach, in the name of disinfection. It is not surprising, given its grim history, that there are documented accounts of hauntings at the Q Station, from staff and visitors alike. Many are centered around the Showers.
I was a bit nervous about the Q Station, so I said a prayer before we went, asking the Powers-That-Be for spirit guardians to watch over us. Immediately after that, I felt more enthusiastic about the outing. In fact, Rex and I were positively super-charged with energy. This was unusual for us, as we are both not exactly youthful, nor particularly energetic. It felt as if someone else was eager for us to be on our way, giving us a spiritual lift so to speak, making sure we got going.
We were pleasantly surprised that everything went so smoothly on route to the Q Station. Peak-hour traffic for the Manly area was normally a frustrating and gnarly experience. That day, we simply cruised along, hassle-free and with green lights all the way, getting there half an hour earlier than expected.
The parking area looked dauntingly full, but just as we drove in, a car pulled out. Perfect timing. We found a spot about a hundred metres from the Visitor Centre, where we were to catch the minibus down to the Boilerhouse restaurant.
As we waited for the transport to arrive, I sat on the bench outside the Visitor Centre and said another prayer for any troubled souls who lingered, and were not at rest. I asked if my spirit guardian could help some of the sad and suffering ones, the ones in need. Perhaps she could persuade them to move on and find peace, and tell the nasty entities to 'bugger off'?
It was not long before the minivan came to bring us to the Boilerhouse restaurant. The historic russet-coloured brick building had the most ginormous chimney stack at the side. I think that they used to do the communal laundry there, as well as provide hot water for the Showers.
Since it was a sunny day, the restaurant had set up alfresco dining at the tables outside. While waiting for our food, I took a photo of the chimney stack of the Boilerhouse. Because I was facing the sun, the chimney and adjacent dining area came out in shadow, but I liked the silhouette effect against the sky.
Lunch was excellent and the service even better. The one jarring note came from the next table. A young man, wearing a pink polo shirt with a fancy animal emblem, looked us up and down as we were seated. From my position at our table, I could hear his rather derogatory remarks about us to the older couple with him, presumably his parents.
After they finished their meal and left, Rex and I laughed about it. The incident amused us, rather than cause any affront. I had the sudden impulse to glance over at their table. One of them had left their phone. Rex quickly hailed them to come back retrieve it. They were most embarrassed. We got the distinct impression that someone was teaching them a lesson.
On our return to the reception area, I looked across the path from the Boilerhouse, as we travelled up the hill in the minivan. The building on the right looked like a small nondescript toilet block. My skin began to prickle along my arms and legs. From the narrow dark opening at the side, I could just make out closely-set cubicles made of thin white partitions. They felt unbearably sad and full of despair.
I asked Rex where were the infamous haunted Showers, wondering if that was it. He had been there some years ago, and was sure it lay somewhere farther up the hill. But the woman who had sat at the other table at the Boilerhouse, surprised us by speaking up.
It just so happened that they had been on the history tour earlier in the day. She confirmed that the building was - you guessed it - the Showers.
When we came home, I went over the photos I had taken and realized there was something odd. A blue orb showed in the photo of the chimney stack. But Rex and I had not seen any spot of blue in the area at the time. It was also not the same shade of blue as the sky.
Could there some technical reason for this? Because I have no idea where that blue dot came from. Neither does Rex. If it was a reflection or refraction, the sun was at the wrong angle for it. There was nothing around to explain that distinctive shade of electric blue, like a single bolt of lightning energy.
I did some reading and came across some articles that said that blue orbs could be signs of spiritual guardians. Could it be my spirit guardian letting me see that she was around?