Commuters in Sydney wearing masks during the influenza pandemic, 1919. Source: The Australian
A global pandemic reaches Australia
In November 1918, as peace was declared and the guns of the First World War fell silent, people across the world began to succumb in great numbers to a deadly disease. Caused by a particularly virulent strain of pneumonic influenza, the illness was notable for taking the lives of an unusually high number of otherwise young and healthy people.
Makeshift Pneumonic Influenza hospital, Melbourne, 1919. Source: Heritage Council of Victoria
Parramatta prepares, and the pandemic arrives
In January 1919, cases of the deadly pneumonic influenza pandemic sweeping the world were diagnosed in Australia, first in Melbourne and then in Sydney.
Motions of Condolence. Source: Minutes of the Meeting of Dundas Municipal Council, 2 April 1919
Loss and recovery in Parramatta
As the pneumonic influenza pandemic took hold in Parramatta during the first few months of 1919, the small Parramatta District Hospital was only able to admit a handful of influenza patients, so those ill with the disease began to be directed to Lidcombe State Hospital, or the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown.
Dundas Skyline Drive-in, c. 1950s (Source: www.drive-insdownunder.com.au)
Some previously well-known features of Parramatta’s urban landscape have, over the years, given way due to changes in taste or developments in technology. Here, we take a look at the stories behind five of the city’s vanished historic landmarks, and explore what has taken their place. (more…)
During the First World War, letter writing was the main form of communication between soldiers and their loved ones, this helped ease the pain of long term separation. Soldiers from Parramatta would write letters (more…)
Animals played a vital role during World War One, especially horses. Australia sent more than 136,000 Australian horses overseas to support and serve. The type of war horse that was favoured by the light horsemen in the campaign were originally from New South Wales, hence the sturdy, hardy breed became known as ‘Walers’. (more…)
Australia’s involvement in World War One began on 4 August 1914. Sadly, many of these soldiers, sailors, airmen, medical support staff and nurses didn’t make it home. Their courage, sacrifice, hardship and losses brought a new maturity to our nation. In the face of atrocity and adversary, (more…)
In Palestine and Syria during World War One, total battle casualties for the Australian Imperial Force in this campaign were 416 officers and 4435 other ranks, with 96 officers and 1278 enlisted men dying from wounds and disease. (more…)
A spectacular tree in Parramatta Park (Source: City of Parramatta Council, 2012)
Trees across the Parramatta area make our surroundings more attractive and pleasant. They provide relief from heat and glare, improve the quality of the air we breathe, and help retain precious rainwater in our soil. Trees frame our memories and identity. For the traditional custodians of this land, the Darug people, trees hold particular cultural and spiritual relevance.
Over 4000 Australians were captured by the Germans on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918. Nine per cent of these prisoners died in captivity. A total of 395 Australians died during captivity in the First World War. (more…)