How Western Australia survived the bubonic plague
During the final years of the nineteenth century, an international pandemic of bubonic plague was carried throughout the British maritime trading world. This pandemic took only a few years to spread to every continent, reaching Australia via Sydney in January 1900, then Western Australia only a few months later.
Between 1900 and 1906 Perth and Fremantle experienced repeated outbreaks. Throughout the State’s experience of bubonic plague, only thirty-three lives were lost to the disease. Western Australia’s experience of plague was not about the swathes of dead bodies it left behind. Rather, the experience highlighted a crisis in health and sanitation whilst at the same time revealing our socio-cultural frailties, including some of the worst of our post-colonial prejudices.
Dr Michelle McKeough joined us to discuss her research into the bubonic plague in Western Australian.
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