In modern times, COVID-19 is a pandemic that severely impacted the lived of people not only in Queensland but the entire continent of Australia. As of the first week of March a total of 1,342 were reported and the number can increase. Throughout 2020, the government of Queensland imposed a series of restrictions and lockdowns to break the transmission chain and contain the disease and was largely successful.
COVID-19 pandemic was a serious one faced by Queensland, but was it the first or the worst pandemic in the state? Surprisingly the answer is no. The worst pandemic to hit the state was the Spanish Flu which started here in January of 1919 and claimed thousands of lives. The Spanish Flu wreaked havoc a hundred years ago after having started in the busy camps of World War I. According to historic records, the disease entered in Queensland through Sydney.
A lot like the modern times, the Queensland Government closed the borders and set up quarantine camps to curb the spread. But, it wasn’t as prepared as it is today to fight the problem and even with the borders closed a few laundresses were diagnosed with in Brisbane. Once the Spanish Flu entered the state, attempts to curb its transmission like isolating, inoculating, and closing of public spaces all failed.
It was noted that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people were severely affected. Out of the 830 deaths from the ailment were young adults many which belonged to indigenous communities. Although the state of Queensland had faced influenza outbreaks in the past, the Spanish Flu was particularly severe as it was easily communicable and affected people in Brisbane, Townsville, Coolangatta, Wallangarra, etc.
It was reported that 1919, 10,528 deaths occurred due to the deadly flu in Australia and the majority of them were in New South Wales. During the pandemic, many social events and gatherings were prohibited. Ekka a prominent and yearly event conducted in Brisbane was cancelled which was cancelled only two times more in the future –once during World War II and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However bad the pandemic of the Spanish Flu was, the people of Queensland did get through it and its cases dwindled by the next year. Even when the flu was at its peak in the state, like today there were many people who did their best to help those in need especially the doctors and nurses. It was reported women and schoolchildren would volunteer by distributing food and other supplies.
The Spanish Flu which spread after originating during the World War I was a deadly pandemic that affected people across the globe. Queensland was not spared from it but people did recover and life continued as usual. It was the first and worst pandemic of Queensland and when the residents persevered in spite of it then it is indicative that people can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as well.