Illness & disease


Archives behind the scenes - bubonic plague

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

Bubonic plague index 1900-1908

The Register of Cases of Bubonic Plague 1900-1908 records the names and residences of those suffering from the plague and their fate as to whether they died or recovered from this fearful disease

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

Convict Sydney

Cupping glasses & scarificator

These cupping glasses are of the type that was used in the treatment of convict patients at the General ‘Rum’ Hospital

Pneumonic Influenza (Spanish Flu), 1919

The pandemic threw the people and Government of the State into a community effort rivalled only by that of the recent war

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

View of cottage and other outbuilding.

Rouse Hill Estate and the Spanish flu of 1919: a year of contradictions

In 1919, Spanish flu gripped the world. In 2020, as we confront COVID-19, the media headlines and reports from the earlier pandemic are all too familiar.

Convict Sydney

Rum Hospital glassware

These medicine bottles, irrigation syringe and measuring glass fragments were used for the treatment of convict patients

Tents in bush setting.

When masks were compulsory

When thinking about the impact of COVID-19, it’s timely to reflect on an earlier pandemic that affected every aspect of life, including at our places