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The year ​2018 marks the 100th anniversary of a deadly pandemic. From September 1918, a pneumonic influenza, which became known as the ‘Spanish ‘flu’, arrived on Australian shores. Ships were stopped at quarantine stations and told they would have to wait until their ship was declared disease free. When the virus broke through this minimal barrier in January 1919, it wreaked havoc in towns and communities, with an estimated 1.5 million Australians catching the disease. Sydney’s densely populated inner west and towns like Lithgow were hardest hit. Join historian Alison Wishart as she explores the history of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic through soldiers’ diaries, Red Cross records, photographs and newspaper accounts.

Alison Wishart is a Senior Curator at the State Library of New South Wales. Her area of expertise is social history, having curated exhibitions on a diverse range of topics – from football (soccer) to romantic love. Before coming to the State Library of NSW in 2015, Alison worked as a curator and collections manager with the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the State Library of Queensland, and Museum of Tropical Queensland. Alison has a BA (Hons) from the University of Queensland and a Masters in Cultural Heritage (majoring in Museum Studies) from Deakin University.

When: Wednesday 5 September 2018, 10:00am
Belmont Library, 19 Ernest Street, Belmont NSW 2282
Free – book online
Contact:, 02 4921 0463
Hosted by Lake Mac Libraries.

Proudly presented as part of the History Council of NSW’s Speaker Connect program for History Week 2018, supported by Create NSW.

Image: Essie Molloy, Hilda Kelly and Gladys Molloy, all typists, wearing masks during influenza pandemic, Botanical Gardens, Sydney, 1919, courtesy State Library of NSW