The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918
Dr Peter Hobbins, medical historian at the National Archives of Australia, joins Michael to talk about the ‘Spanish flu’, the pandemic that killed between 50-100 million people worldwide.
About a third of all Australians were infected when it hit our shores in 1919 with nearly 15,000 people dead in under a year.
Responses within Australia varied from state to state but the crisis often led to the closure of schools, churches, theatres, pubs, race meetings and agricultural shows.
The result was not only economic hardship, but significant interruptions in education, entertainment, travel, shopping and worship though the funeral business boomed, as the nation’s annual death rate went up by approximately 25%.
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