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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

An Australian perspective of the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic Volume 17 Issue 7-8

Peter Curson, Kevin McCracken

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About the author/s

Peter Curson

Kevin McCracken


The 1918–1919 influenza pandemic stands as one of the greatest natural disasters of all time. In a little over a year
the disease affected hundreds of millions of people and killed between 50 and 100 million. When the disease finally reached Australia in 1919 it caused more than 12,000 deaths. While the death rate was lower than in many other countries, the pandemic was a major demographic and social tragedy, affecting the lives of millions of Australians. This paper briefly assesses the impact of the pandemic on Australia and NSW with particular reference to the demographic and social impact and the measures advanced to contain it.