Chasing the Ghost of Annie Egan at Q Station Manly

Last weekend I was asked to be a special guest investigator at Q Station Manly at the Paranormal Investigator Tour starting at 10pm to 2am, with Anne and Roman Rzechowicz from Oz Para Tech.
Oz Para Tech run these intensive and immersive nights every two months, as well as being able to organise private investigation tours on the site for small groups.

I have been to Q a few times now and am always thrilled to investigate.

This time I found myself elbow deep in research as stories opened up to me about some of the doctors and nurses that spent time at the Quarantine Station. I was initially chasing some photos that I could show as part of my bit on the tour, but I found myself following one certain female nurse whose face I found staring back at me from the National Archives collection.

The North Head Quarantine Station is situated on Sydney Harbour, at North Head near Manly. To protect Australia’s early settlers from ship-borne disease and epidemics, it was established in 1832 as a place of quarantine for people entering the colony. It was also used to isolate residents of the Rocks after a bubonic plague outbreak at the turn of the twentieth century. Local residents and soldiers returning from France were quarantined there during the post-World War I influenza outbreak. The station ceased to operate as a quarantine facility in 1984, and is now part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. 

The most well-known burial was that of 27-year-old nurse Annie Egan. She had been nursing the soldiers from the Medic and had contracted influenza. On 26 November 1918, she was admitted to the hospital at the Quarantine Station. By 3 December, Annie was dangerously ill and died later that day. Despite her repeated requests for a Roman Catholic priest to visit her and administer the last rites, the Commonwealth authorities refused to allow a priest in the quarantine area. This resulted in a public and political outcry. ( historic info from National Archives of Australia)

Of course there would be a terrible fear of spreading disease in Sydney and so anyone who went to Q Station had to stay, at least for the Quarantine period, which was 40 days.

Poor Annie's case caused quite a stir at the time as she contracted influenza and at a request for last right was denied a priest for fear of transmission of the disease.
The Church replied to concerned of the doctors at Q by saying that they did have a priest ready to head to Q, and stay to look after the spiritual needs of the inmates, but they were not allowed to proceed as it was felt by the doctors that they had not picked the 'right man' for the job.

Arch Bishop Kelly, at Annie's funeral, really seemed to let it rip and was very upset at the whole affair. This was a gross miscarriage of justice!

But was it all that it was made out to be?
Was there anything else behind this sad event?
Q Station staff have told us that they have spoken to Annie's decendants and they seem to know nothing more, nor do they feel that there were any secrets abut what happened.

                                                Article in the Telegraph about Annie's funeral.

A good repore exists between the two parties and as far as I could gather nothing more is insinuated to have happened.

So you can imagine my curiosity when I came across a blog post written by a psychic who had visited Q Station a few years back. She comments that she feels there is more to this story than we think.
She feels that there could be information, directly from Annie herself leading to the fact that Annie may have met a slightly more insidious demise due to what she had seen occur between a doctor and a child at Q Station.
Apparently there is a story about a 'girl dressed in pink' and the unfortunate circumstances of this child at the hands of one of the doctors serving at the time Annie was a nurse at Q Station.

Remember this, the psychic writes, came directly from the mouth of Annie and I guess the psychic felt so strongly about it that she shared it in a blog post about her.

Annie wished for the truth to be told. The psychic believes.

Was this the truth?
There is no other evidence to say so.

It was well known that the doctors were a law unto themselves.
And a few bits of information may allude to some of the doctors acting improperly.

But certainly deeper research would be needed.

I have only scratched the surface of the stories from Q.

I hope I can continue to find out more and I am passionate about uncovering the truth in these circumstances.

I do believe that we can really disrespect those that have passed by not telling their story truthfully.Of course they are not here to complain about it themselves so it is up to history (or their families if they still exist) to fix the errors of our beliefs.

Annie is buried at one of the three cemeteries that took bodies from Q Station.

During the inter-war years, concerns were expressed by relatives and official agencies about the care of the graves and the respect due to those buried at the third cemetery. Grave markers were installed, but in 1929 the Department of Defence was still concerned that the graves of servicemen were not being maintained to the standard laid down by the Imperial War Graves Commission. As a result, headstones were erected and the quarantine staff cared for the graves as best they could. The rugged nature of the site and the growth of native vegetation have, over time, obscured these graves. However, now through work by volunteers of the North Head Sanctuary Foundation, the graves of Annie and others buried there are now being tended.

                                                             Photo: National Archives Australia

As for Annie's spirit, does it rest in peace?
Or does she often make herself known back at Q Station?
Apparently Annie is said to be one of the more active ghosts on site with her apparition being seen and felt by staff and guests alike.

On the night I was there a few of our investigators reported being followed by a female they called Annie ( without having known her story) who they had picked up at the Hospital and whose presence continued to be felt for much of the tour.

We also had one lady who was continually poked and prodded while another person was getting intelligent responses/answers from Annie, when asked questions, using a  device called an Ovilus.
An Ovilus reads environmental conditions and uses an algorithm to convert the readings to a number. That number is attached to a word....and supposedly spirit manipulates all of that to communicate. Ghost hunters often use it while investigating and will record the questions and answers.

                                                                 Photo: Ghoststop

I called out to Annie myself during the night, a number of times in different spaces, but wasnt as lucky.
Maybe I had not gotten to know about her well enough yet.
Maybe I should have paid my respects at her gravesite first, before expecting her to come and have a chat with me.

Annie was know to be well loved by other staff members while she was there and also by all of the patients, especially the children.

It is such a sad way to die - a beautiful young woman who volunteered to help others, eventually succumbing to influenza and dying, without receiving, what she believed as her salvation before her death.

Annie - know we all still think of you and thank you for your service.

PS. If you are keen on Q Station and talking to the ghosts there why not join in on the Paranormal Lockdown weekend in July -


  1. Could you kindly provide the citation for your image of "Nurse Annie EGAN" you indicated it was a National Archives portrait, but a search of the NAA Collection drew a blank.
    Could you kindly advise the url for the source of the photograph.
    I am part of a group preparing a submission to the AWM regarding her.


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