When Bradley’s Head was chosen as the site of Taronga Zoo, Sydney’s quarantine station for imported animals needed a new home. In 1916, the Commonwealth Government bought a 2.38 hectare site on the Abbotsford Peninsula and officially gazetted it as a quarantine station four years later. The site was originally part of the Hexham Estate, which included a grand house and extensive grounds that swept down to Hen and Chicken Bay.
The Animal Quarantine Station provided accomodation for imported cattle, horses, pigs and dogs. Many valuable racehorses were quarantined there and sometimes more exotic animals. Legend has it that a giraffe is buried on the grounds.
During World War II, the station was closed due to restrictions on livestock importation and the site was used as a military store. After the war ended the quarantine station resumed its original function, much to the dismay of local residents who strongly opposed its reopening. A campaign was started to move the quarantine station out of the area because of its offensive odours, noise from animals, smoke and pollution from the incinerator. However, it was many years before the objections of residents prevailed and the station was moved to Wallgrove in 1980.
In 1981 the site was transferred from Commonwealth ownership to the State Government. Drummoyne Council then landscaped the area for public parkland and it is now known as Quarantine Reserve.