Quarantined travellers meet at the QLD-NSW border during the outbreak of Spanish influenza
Quarantined travellers meet at the QLD-NSW border during the outbreak of Spanish influenza Tweed Regional Museum

Flashback: Influenza closes Rockhampton carnival in 1919

THIS is another instalment in our 1919 historical feature where we look back at the events that shaped our region from the 1919 editions of the Bully.

The Morning Bulletin reported on this day in 1919 that an excursion to the Mount Etna caves was cancelled due to an outbreak of Spanish influenza, and Mackay went into self-imposed quarantine, as more than ten thousand Queenslanders fell ill.

"Four deaths from influenza occurred in the Brisbane hospitals today.

"Several further deaths were reported from the country. The Registrar-General's office reported today that the total number of deaths since the last of May was 203,” the paper read.

"In the 24 hours ended at noon today 425 cases of influenza were notified in the metropolitan area, making a total of 1821 for the metropolis. In the country district 220 cases were notified, making a total of 3210, the grand total being 11,000.

"A telegram from Wondal states that the Barambah aboriginal settlement has felt the fury of the epidemic.

It is reported that sixty deaths have taken place since the outbreak.

"The Home Secretary Mr Huxhom was asked today what was the special significance of the influenza regulations issued yesterday regarding Mackay.

He replied that Mackay had asked for these special regulations which would have the effect of isolating and sealing up Mackay, and that town was playing the special cost involved.

"The official medical report this morning showed that there were thirty-two cases of influenza in the (Barcaldine) Shire Hall Isolation Hospital, all doing well. There are sixty-nine cases being treated outside, some of which are fairly bad. One nurse is affected.”

The Queensland Government set up camps at Wallangarra and Coolangatta on the state's southern boundary, forcing travellers to stop there for seven days before entering, in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease which entered Australia through Sydney.