The Ten "Plagues" of Sydney: Epidemics and their Impact

For many years the settlement of Sydney was protected from epidemics by the buffer of distance. But evolving technology shortened the trip, so more ships brought fatal diseases. Over the decades we have faced smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, Asiatic flu, Bubonic plague, Spanish Influenza, polio, and AIDS, with a disheartening pattern of lack of preparation, and consequent panic. But can we say that in 2020 we have learnt from these mistakes and are ready to defend ourselves from the next epidemic, whatever it may be?

The causes, impacts and reactions of government and public of:

  • Smallpox (1789 & 1881)
  • Measles (1867)
  • Scarlet fever (1875)
  • Typhoid (1886)
  • Asiatic flu (1890)
  • Bubonic plague (1900)
  • Spanish influenza (1919)
  • Polio (1950)
  • AIDS (1983)
  • Future epidemics

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Have knowledge of the impact of illness in the story of Sydney and the most significant epidemics.
  • Discuss The best ways to respond to an epidemic, whether there has been anything distinctive about Sydney’s reaction to disease
  • Discover the role in epidemic management of scapegoating, education, preparation and how the media has contributed to each of these.

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