THE last pandemic which occurred in Australia was the Spanish Flu in 1919 and Scone was not immune.
Reading through old local newspapers we found lots of parallels to the current pandemic, including the scourge of steamliners, the cancellation of most social activities and the impact on workplaces.
Thankfully, 100 years later we better understand virology and infection control and our numbers of infected are definitely lower than what Sconeite’s faced during the Spanish Flu.
We plan to publish excerpts from old local papers regularly to give some perspective on our current pandemic.
Keeping in mind, when Sconeites 100 years ago faced their pandemic, they were also emerging from the devastating impacts of WWI. The peace treaty was only signed in November 1918 and in just a few months the disease hit hard. Unfortunately, the troop movements spread the disease across the globe, infecting 500 million, a third of the world’s population and ultimately killed 50million people.
Some snippets from the Scone Advocate on Friday, June 27, 1919:
The Hospital: We learn that there are at present 26 patients in the local Hospital; and nine in the temporary (influenza) Hospital.
No Pictures: Owing to the influenza epidemic, the Olympia picture programme, arranged for tomorrow (Saturday) night, has been abandoned.
Meeting Postponed: Owing to the prevalence of influenza, the meeting of the local branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League, convened for to-morrow (Saturday) night, has been indefinitely postponed.
It is estimated that 25 per cent of the people of Tamworth are suffering from influenza.
Work is being greatly hampered about the city in every direction in consequence of the influenza.
We hear that nearly half the miners of the Muswellbrook colliery are off work on account of the influenza.
The ‘Bathurst Times’ was unable to publish owing to most of its staff being down with the influenza.
No meetings this week. What a relief to the poor reporter, who mostly has to attend one or another every night, and often in the day time as well.
The inter-state Labor Conference which has been sitting in Sydney, has adjourned, earlier than intended, it is said, owing to the influenza epidemic.
Foxes: We hear that a local resident has, during a fortnight, and within two miles of the town, poisoned nearly 200 fixes – or rather, which is as good, or better from his standpoint, got their skins, which are bringing a fine price just now.
Woods’ Great Peppermint Cure, for Coughs and Colds, never fails, 1s 9d and 2s 9d.