Archives behind the scenes - bubonic plague

Did you know there was an outbreak of plague, in Sydney, at The Rocks, in 1900?

Our Register of Bubonic Plague Cases covers 1900 to 1908 and records all of the cases known to the authorities for the duration of the outbreak.

Details include:

  • the date the case was recorded
  • name and age of the patient
  • where they were found
  • particulars of employment or school
  • the diagnosis of the case.

Of particular interest, to viewers today, is information on contact tracing and testing.

This register has been digitised and indexed. Search and browse the register online

A group of men stand behind a pile of dead rats

Bubonic plague register

An introduction to the Bubonic plague pandemic and records related to the Sydney outbreak in 1900–1908

Onlookers stand behind barriers watching the streets being cleaned with fire hoses. Policemen stand on the road in front of the crowds

Purging Pestilence – Plague!

The Bubonic Plague hit Sydney in January 1900. Spreading from the waterfront, the rats carried the plague throughout the city. Within eight months 303 cases were reported and 103 people were dead

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