The incident of the quarantined cat, which furnished a minor sensation for tea-table gossip in Sydney recently, had a value in reminding the city public that there was such a thing as livestock quarantine. "Farmer and Settler" readers know that the Commonwealth has quarantine laws, and that even the most valuable of imported animals must do their term under observation before being allowed to mix freely with other stock : but probably few even of them have more than a hazy idea as to where the animal quarantine station is. Before Taronga Park was created as a zoological garden the land on the north side of Sydney Harbor, overlooking Athol Bight, was occupied in part by the animal quarantine station, and that establishment had to be broken up to make room for the big zoo. The quarantine officials can scarcely have felt compensated by being given the old zoo at Moore Park, which had become vacant, as a temporary home.
In a paper read to the conference of stock inspectors of New South Wales during show-time in Sydney, the Chief Inspector of Stock for the State (Mr. S. T. D. Symons, M.R.C.V.S.) who is also chief quarantine officer for New South Wales under the Commonwealth, told the story of the efforts of the department to find a permanent home, and gave his keenly interested audience much information of value concerning the development of the stock industry of the state, and the vicissitudes of the quarantine system. Of the more recent history of the department, Mr. Symons writes:—
When the land at Athol was embraced in an area dedicated for the purposes of a new zoological gardens to be named Taronga Park, and the quarantine station had to be removed, endeavor was made during more than two years to obtain a suitable site either on the foreshores of Sydney Harbor or Parramatta River, but without avail. One or two likely sites were selected, but nothing was brought to completion on account of the objections of the residents of the localities. It is perhaps unnecessary to state, that the majority of these objections were of an absurd nature; but at any rate the combined political and parochial effort defeated the object in view.
Athol being no longer tenable, in December, 1916, the land forming the old Zoological Gardens at Moore Park was utilised, and although horses have had to undergo quarantine at private stables, comfortable quarters were provided there for cattle, sheep, pigs, and dogs, and we are still in occupancy. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Government acquired, by purchase, a satisfactory block of land at Abbotsford, on Hen and Chicken Bay, Parramatta River, the buildings on which are well towards completion, and we hope to be able to enter into possession at an early date. This location provides for an essential requirement as to effective quarantine of animals, viz., transference by water from the ships to the isolation depot. As the vendor of the property, a well-known city commercial man, raised no object to this establishment adjoining his residence, the efforts of the local objectors soon subsided.
At this stage it might he opportune to mention that for many years a quarantine tender, a small steamer, specially built for the purpose of carrying stock, and named the Golden Fleece, was in commission. In recent times, however, animals have been carried on a stock punt, which has been found particularly convenient for the purpose. It is not so extravagant a vessel as the Golden Fleece, as when not in actual use, it can he laid up, and consequently maintenance has been found to be more economical.
The quarters at Abbotsford for stock, and for both permanent and temporary attendants, are of a more substantial nature than existed heretofore, and are in every way an improvement. On occount of the opening of the Panama Canal, which will probably result in Sydney becoming the first port of call for ships arriving in the Commonwealth, it is thought that numbers of stock intended for the other states, may undergo quarantine in Sydney. Fortunately, the area permits of the buildings being suitably extended if such a course is necessary.