Diseases and Quarantine. In general if there was active disease on board the Otago Medical Officer would be notified by the ships doctor and all quarantined. Sometimes the sick or well stayed on the ship. The last quarantined person that died on the island was in 1916 (over 100 years ago). No bacteria, virus or spore could survive until today.
Smallpox. A virus. This had been a devastating disease until widespread immunisation in the early 1800’s. Prior to immunisatoion, typically 60% were infected and 10-30% died during epidemics. For some people the immunisation did not work, thus occasional cases occurred until 1975. Today, smallpox is eradicated.
Measles. A virus. Today, it is aimed to eliminate this worldwide by immunisation. However humanitarian issues in some countries have delayed worldwide immunisation. It still causes problems in localised epidemics, particularly if immunisation rates are low (e.g. Samoa 2019).
Diptheria/Croup. Bacteria. Infects the throat. Today, immunisation is used.
Typhoid. Bacteria. Today, immunization is used.
Scarlet fever/Scarlatina. Bacteria. Starts as ‘Strep sore throat’. Bacteria infect the throat then spread throughout the body. Today, it is treated by antibiotics (since 1940’s).
Whooping cough. Bacteria. Today immunisation works. It is more common in babies before immunisation. There were 1300 cases in NZ in 2017 and there are still approximately 1one death per year.
This Table has some information about the ships, diseases, and some coments.
If you want to search for a particular person who came to NZ 1839-1973 you can search the NZ archives through FamilySearch
|Year||Monthh||Datey||Days in Q||Ship Name||Port of Departure||Diseases||Comments|
|1860||Sept||3||7||Robert Henderson||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||scarlet fever||List. Ship from the Henderson line.|
|1860||Oct||26||½||Silistria||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||smallpox||List|
|1863||July||12||31+||Victory||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||smallpox||List. First people to use the 1861 Quarantine buildings|
|1863||Sept||14||29||Mataura||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||smallpox, scarlet fever|
|1863||Dec||5||2||Daniel Rankin||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||smallpox|
|1864||Sept||23||4||City of Dunedin||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||fever|
|1866||Sept||21||26||Resolute||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||smallpox|
|1867||Oct||12||1||Echunga||Gravesend, London, England||smallpox|
|1868||Feb||18||7||Fairy Queen||Mauritius, Africa||fever|
|1870||Dec||23||13||Robert Henderson||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||scarlatina (scarlet fever)|
|1872||Dec||5||11+||Christian McCausland||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||scarlatina (scarlet fever)||First to use the not quite completed 1873 buildings. Diary entry from Charles Duke ”Barracks Master’ on the Island|
|1872||Dec||6||17+||Palmerston||Hamburg, Germany||scarlatina (scarlet fever)|| Diary.
Carried many Polish immigrants
|1873||Feb||16||4+||Charlotte Gladstone||Gravesend, London, England||typhoid||338 passengers to Otago, Diary available‘the dirtest looking old tub that ever visited our harbour’|
|1873||Nov||6||7+||Lady Jocelyn||Gravesend, London, England||diphtheria||198 passengers to Otago|
|1874||Feb||13||28+||SS Mongol||Plymouth, England||scarlet fever||Ship with the most deaths on the Island (11 deaths). The first steam ship to bring immigrants to NZ. Was being delivered as a mail ship.Made the fastest voyage to NZ (54 days)Left Plymouth on the same day as the Scimitar|
|1874||Feb||28||9+||Carnatic||London, England||scarlet fever, measles|
|1874||Mar||5||13+||Scimitar||Plymouth, England||scarlet fever, measles||Had 762 immigrants on board and of that number 280 were children. There was much sickness on board and before New Zealand was reached there were 33 deaths, all except one infants. Six more died in quarantine. Ship later named the Rangitiki.|
|1874||June||8||9||SS Atrato||Plymouth, England||measles, croup/diptheria|
|1875||Jan||10||5||Margaret Galbraith||Grenock, Glasgow, Scotland||scarlet fever|
|1875||Feb||12||10+||Gareloch||London, England||scarlet fever|
|1875||Feb||17||15+||Oamaru||Grenock, Glasgow, Scotland||scarlet fever|
|1875||July||25||6+||Aldergrove||Glasgow, Scotland||measles||Official enquiry results regarding rations and the doctors intoxication.|
|1875||Sept||30||1+||Invercargill||Grenock, Glasgow, Scotland||whooping cough||The Invercargill made 26 trips to NZ.|
|1876||Nov||19||8+||Dunedin||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||measles||Refitted with refrigeration (1881) made the first trip to engand with frozen meat in 1882.|
|1876||Dec||16||6+||Oamaru||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||measles, fever|
|1877||Mar||25||29||Gloucester||Hong Kong, China||smallpox||Carrying workers from China. Of 122 passengers, all male, 4 still had smallpox. Stayed in tents on the Island.|
|1877||Nov||21||9||Waipa||Plymouth, England||scarlet fever|
|1877||Dec||30||17||Canterbury||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||typhoid|
|1879||Mar||24||11||Lyttelton||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||scarlatina (scarlet fever)|
|1879||Dec||23||6+||Auckland||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||measles|
|1880||Jan||7||5+||Marlborough||Greenock, Glasgow, Scotland||measles|
|1881||June||29||17||Charles Worsley||London, England||smallpox|
|1887||Jan||29||7||Ruapehu||Plymouth, England||scarlatina (scarlet fever)|
|1889||Aug||28||5||Coptic||Plymouth, England||scarlatina (scarlet fever)|
|1892||Jan||19||51||Umvoti||Mauritius, Africa||smallpox||Longest time in Quarantine|
|1894||May||23||21||Rimutaka||London, England||scarlet fever|
|1902||Aug||5||13||Orient||Capetown, South Africa||measles, smallpox||Returning liner/troopship from the second Boer war. Twenty-one of the 1102 soldiers on board were quarantined for measles, a solider on this ship was later found to have smallpox.|
|1916||May||16||14||Willochra||London, England||smallpox||Returning liner/troopship from WW1. Several soldiers were found to have smallpox. The ship was diverted and soldiers quarantined. Private Wilson died and was in the Island cemetery until 1947. The Willochra played an important role as a troopship in WW1|
List of diaries of immigrants available at the Alexander Turnbull Library
Lists of ships and people that came to Port Chalmers
Known burials in the Island Cemetery, about 70 remain, mosting in unmarked garves
1. William KELLY, age 18 months, 18 July 1863, Victory.
2. Janet KAY (née Anderson), July 1863, Victory.
3. [John] DICKSON, age ,  July 1863, Victory. [See note below]
4. Jessie MOIR, age early 20s, September 1863, Mataura.
5. Hugh TAIT, 23 September 1864, consumption, City of Dunedin.
6. Elizabeth Ann DOUGALL, age 7, 12 November 1865, daugther of Keeper (John Dougall).
7. — BATHGATE, girl, age under 5, 26 December 1870, Robert Henderson.
8.* William DOUGALL, age 5, 30 January 1871, scarlatina, son of Keeper.
9.* William PRESTON, age 28, 22 February 1873, typhoid fever, Charlotte Gladstone.
10.* Robert MAIR [Muir], age 21⁄2, 27 February, 1873, convulsions, Charlotte Gladstone.
11.* George SANDFORD [Sanford], age 17, 28 Feb 1873, consumption, Charlotte Gladstone
12.* James BENNETT, age 19, 1 March 1873, typhoid fever, Charlotte Gladstone.
13.* Laura PIKE, age 2, 6 November 1873, diphtheria, Lady Jocelyn.
14.* George BARNES, age 12 months, 10 November 1873, diphtheria, Lady Jocelyn.
15.* George PEERLESS, age 18, 10 November 1873, convulsive seizure, Lady Jocelyn.
16.* Lilly KEEBLE, age 5, 18 Novembe 1873, diphtheria, Lady Jocelyn.
17.* Charles FEELICK [i.e. William FELLICK], age 7, 19 Nov. 1873, diphtheria, Lady Jocelyn.
18. WITHYMAN (small boy), 1873, Lady Jocelyn.
(Feb 13th 1974 Mongol passengers put into Quarantine)
19.* Ada Johnstone [i.e. JOHNSON], age 3, 14 February 1874, scarlet fever, Mongol.
20.* Julia HIGGS, age 12 months, 14 February 1874, measles, Mongol.
21.* Charles TRIPP, age 10 months, 14 February 1874, bronchitis, Mongol.
22.* Elizabeth WITHAM, age 12 months, 21 February 1874, bronchitis, Mongol.
23.* Mabel HUSBAND, age 3, 3 March 1874, convulsions, Mongol.
24.* Mary Johnston [i.e. Mary Jane JOHNSON], age 9, 9 March 1874, laryngitis, Mongol.
25.* Charles CORNWELL, age 3, 21 March 1874, bronchitis, Mongol.
26.* Carls PARTEL, age 2 months, 26 March 1874, bronchitis, Mongol.
27.* Jane GARDINER, age 10 months, 30 March 1874, bronchitis, Mongol.
28.* Margaret TANNER, age 17, 30 March 1874, bronchitis, diphtheria, Mongol,
29.* Ann TANNER, age 20, 31 March 1874, bronchitis, diphtheria, Mongol.
30.* David [i.e. Albert] COX, age 3, 13 March 1874, scarlet fever, Carnatic.
31.* William WITHERS, age 8, 10 April 1874, water on the brain, scarlet fever, Scimitar.
32.* Eliza WELLEN[?], age 1, 9 June 1874, pneumonia, Atrato.
33.* William Henry REEVE, age 2, 9 June 1874, croup, Atrato.
34.* Florence Emily NEWBURY, age 20 months, 11 June 1874, bronchitis, Atrato.
35.* Mary BROPHY, age 11 months, 12 June 1874, croup and syncope, Atrato.
36.* Charles JONES, age 1 year, 12 June 1874, convulsions, teething coma, Atrato.
37.* Emma JONES, age 2, 12 June 1874, bronchitis, Atrato.
38.* — RICHMOND, age 5 weeks, 3 August 1874, general debility & wasting, ship unknown.
39. — AZZERETI, male baby, age 1 day, 27 October 1875, ship unknown.
40.* Jane MACDONALD, age 33, 28 October 1875, phthisis pulmondia, Auckland.
41. Richard Wetherell SMITH, age 16 months, 1 October 1875; reburied 25 September 1877
at Green Island Cemetery, and incorrectly recorded as having died 1877; Invercargill.
42* Hannah HAlliMAn [i.e. HALLINAN], nee Murphy, age 35, 7 February 1876, parturition,
43* Kate McMAsters [i.e. Catherine McMASTER, Mrs], age 27, 18 December 1876,
44. — BENNET (newborn baby), [December] 1876, Oamaru.
45. Janet BENNET (nee Hunter), [December 1876 or early 1877]. There is doubt about her
burial at the Island or at East Taieri Cemetery, Oamaru.
46* Elizabeth COULTER (née Graham), age 30, 21 January 1878, typhoid fever, Canterbury.
47. Unnamed seaman from Manila, 31 December 1877, scurvy, Carl Ludovic/Ludwig.
48* Catherine McKENNA, age 18, 27 November 1878, typhoid, pneumonia, [?Timaru].
49. — WRIGHT (stillborn baby), 5 October 1879, Forfarshire.
50* Mary WRIGHT (née Boyd), age 37, 7 October 1879, premature labour, Forfarshire.
51* Sarah BATEY, age 41⁄2. 7 January 1880, measles, bronchitis, Marlborough.
52* John CAMERON, age 8 months, 12 January 1880, intermittent diarrhoea, Marlborough.
53* William CRUICKSHANK, age 21 months, 12 January 1880, diarrhoea, Marlborough.
54* Mary WELSH, age 11 months, 16 January 1880, intermittent diarrhoea, Marlborough.
55* Peter John CLARK, age 4 months, 18 January 1880, stoppage of bowels, Marlborough.
56* Elizabeth SINCLAIR, age 2 yrs 7 mths, 18 January 1880, hydrocephalus, Marlborough.
57* Margaret DOUGALL, age 24, 27 December 1884, desquamation, nephritis; dau. of Keeper.
58* John DOUGALL, age 63, 7 January 1890, apoplexy & coma; Keeper of Quarantine.
59* Frederick Griffith RAMSDEN, age 2, 9 January 1890, scarlatina. [?Manapouri].
60. Unnamed seaman from Mauritius, 18 or 19 January, 1892, smallpox, Umvoti.
61. — HARRIS [?], small boy, 3 June 1894, scarlet fever, Rimutaka.
62. George WILSON, Pte, Otago Regiment, 22 May 1916, smallpox, reburied in Soldiers’
Ground, Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin, 15 October 1947, Willochra.
- a) Fuller entries, compiled by June McDougall, NZSG, are in Fiche No.386 of the N.Z.Society of Genealogists’ master microfiche of cemeteries, 1985 (held in most N.Z. research centres).
- b) Asterisks (*) denote original entries in the Port Chalmers Post Of ce Register of Deaths. Only 45 names were included in that Register. Information about another 17 burials has been gathered from newspapers and family informants. All of these sources, when checked against one another and passenger lists, contain some proven inaccuracies. Details for No.3 were added later from a family gravestone in the Clarendon cemetery, Otago.
- c) There have been 72 burials at the Island, two of them (Nos. 41 & 62) later reburied elsewhere. That total of 72 was given by Will Dougall, son of Keeper John Dougall, in a letter to the Otago Daily Times on 10 July 1947. ‘No records have been kept,’ he wrote, ‘but I am in a position to know the facts.’ If it were not for this letter, no one would now know the full number.
- d) Out of the 62 named burials, 40 were children under 10 years, and at least 30 of these were under 5 years. In Dunedin’s Arthur Street Reserve, where a monument records the names of those buried there in Dunedin’s 1st cemetery, a second plaque was added in 2001 honouring the memory of all children who had died aboard ship during the early emigrant voyages. The wording could well have been extended to cover also those children who died on Quarantine Island and at the Caversham Immigration Barracks, still suffering from the effects of the voyage.
- e) Most who died at sea were buried at sea. However, eleven passengers and two crewmen buried at Quarantine Island are known to have died on board ship just outside the Heads or within Otago Harbour: Nos. 5, 15, 32, 33, 35, 36, 40, 42, 47, 49, 50, 51 and 60.
Quarantine Island a Short History (2008)
The Voyage Out (2005) https://teara.govt.nz/en/the-voyage-out/print