Western Isolation [PDF]


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The Perth Experience of the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic

In early 1919, when the citizens of Australia’s eastern States were succumbing to the Spanish influenza pandemic in their thousands, Perth was free of the disease. Its border quarantine gave it an additional six months of valuable preparation time and the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Thus, Perth suffered far less proportionally than the other States when influenza finally breached its borders.

This book tells the story of Perth’s experience with influenza and why it was so different from that of eastern Australia. It provides a unique perspective on how prepared societies will respond expected emergencies.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Preparing for the epidemic
    1. Maritime quarantine
    2. Containing the disease on land
    3. Preparing for the inevitable
  3. Responding to the outbreaks
    1. First cases
    2. Peace celebrations ignite the influenza outbreak
    3. Decline in cases
  4. The Victims
    1. Availability of data
    2. Progress of the epidemic
    3. Hospitals and home deaths
    4. Age distribution of deaths
    5. Birthplace of the dead
    6. Occupations of the dead
    7. Geographical distribution of deaths and their relationship to housing
  5. The medical profession
    1. Perth doctors
    2. Theories on the cause of influenza
    3. Prevention and treatment
    4. Relationship between medicine and the medical profession
  6. The public response
    1. The role of the press
    2. Attitudes to the impending epidemic
    3. Attitudes to the actual epidemic
  7. Conclusion
  8. Appendix
  9. Glossary
  10. Timeline for influenza in Perth
  11. Bibliography and Endnotes

This is the second of three books about Australia’s experience of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. The other books are:

Author: Bev Blackwell

Series editor: Dr Athol Yates

Imprint: Resilience & Security Books, Australian Security Research Centre

Publication date: June 2007

Price: hardcopy $25.00, pdf $15.00