The Dark Island: Leprosy in New Zealand and the Quail Island Colony


The Dark Island: Leprosy in New Zealand and the Quail Island Colony


ISBN: 9781988545981 Category: Tags: ,


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From 1906 to 1925 Quail Island was the site of New Zealand’s leprosy colony. The colony began by accident, as it were, after the discovery of a leprosy sufferer in Christchurch. As further patients arrived from across the country, it grew into a controversial and troubled institution – an embarrassment to the Health Department, an object of pity to a few, a source of fear to many. It was a place that some people wanted to forget, but its stories are worth remembering: among them are stories of remarkable generosity and selfessness, as well as of violence and great suffering.

This fascinating narrative from a talented young historian reveals a little-known aspect of New Zealand’s past. Through the tale of the Quail Island colony, the book shines a light on wider society in that period, both in New Zealand and beyond. Elegantly and engagingly written, The Dark Island heralds the arrival of a significant historical voice.

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Dimensions 170 × 240 mm

Benjamin Kingsbury

Author Bio

Benjamin Kingsbury was born in Auckland in 1987 and brought up in New Zealand and Pakistan. He completed an MA in History at the University of Canterbury and received his PhD from Victoria University of Wellington. The thesis on which The Dark Island is based attracted several awards and scholarships, including the Philip Ross May Gown for the most outstanding History thesis of the year and the Sir James Hight Memorial Prize. His first book, An Imperial Disaster: The Bengal Cyclone of 1876, was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. He has taught history at Victoria University of Wellington and now works as
a historian for Te Arawhiti, the Office for Maori Crown Relations.





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