Plague and Quarantine Hospital

Plague and Quarantine Hospital

Stage Number: MBSH.03.03.03

Group: Southern

Local Study Area: Bulimba-Balmoral-Hawthorne-Morningside

Epoch: Late 19th Century

Street Address: Colmslie Recreation Reserve, Morningside

Latitude & Longitude: -27.44986111,153.08352778

Time Link: 1900

Map Link: 1904

Image Time Point: 1904

Suggest An Edit
View Your Faviourties


This facility was built very quickly to deal with a bubonic plague that had hit Brisbane in early 1900. Colmslie was a remote spot, and there were already several structures standing there on the Cairncross property, including cottages and substantial outhouses. There was also a coach-house that was converted into a fumigating chamber for the ambulances, and a wharf that was used for the boats that took the dead to the makeshift burial ground further downstream at Gibson Island. Patients were confined in two fenced-off wards, each with room for four people, and there were also tents in case of overflow. The hospital was used for the first time in late April, when several cases were confirmed. Over the next eight months, 56 people were diagnosed with bubonic plague, of whom 25 died. By 1907, 300 Brisbane people had been diagnosed with Plague and 118 had died. The hospital was later used for quarantine purposes. The land was transferred to the State Government in 1934 and then to the Brisbane City Council and made into what is now the Colmslie Recreation Reserve.


Telegraph, 25 April 1900; Daily Standard, 22 July 1913; Courier-Mail, 30 March 1946.

Image Citations

Quarantine barricade around houses after bubonic plague outbreak in Hawthorne Street, Woolloongabba, 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Record number: 73241.

Map References

QSA. QSA Series ID 2043 City of Brisbane and Suburbs Maps – A1A Series. 4 chains to the inch. Brisbane and suburbs. Sheet 1. 4 chains to the inch. Brisbane, Survey Office.. 634532