Global Pandemic, Local Responses: The Spanish Flu & Newcastle, 1918-19

11 May 2018

As we near the 100 year anniversary of the 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza outbreak, the Global Newcastle Research Group (a joint initiative of the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Education and Arts and the Newcastle Region Library) invites you to an afternoon of talks and discussion on this world wide pandemic, exploring its impacts on Newcastle and the Hunter Region. The Spanish flu, also referred to as the pneumonic influenza outbreak, began towards the end of the First World War. The mass movement of troops heading home after the war greatly increased the spread of the disease, which was responsible for over 50 million deaths – a number far greater than that of the casualties of the war itself.

The speakers will include medical historian Peter Hobbins of the University of Sydney; First World War specialist Kate Ariotti, music historian Helen English and historian of Newcastle Nancy Cushing from the University of Newcastle; nursing historian Christine Bramble; and history intern, Jess Grey. Hosted by Julie McIntyre, the talks will explore the historical context of the flu in a time of war and repatriation, why it became so virulent and how it spread, its effects on victims, the efforts taken to prevent and control the outbreak including their unintended consequences, and the rich resources now available to help us to research the local reach of this global disease.

We hope you will join us on the Sunday 27th of May 1.30 - 4.30pm in the Lovett Gallery, Newcastle City Library. A light afternoon tea will be served. There is no fee however bookings are essential.

Image: Smith Family don face masks during the Pneumonic Influenza outbreak. Wingello, Wyoming, NSW, 1919. Photo courtesy of Gosford City Library.