Spanish Influenza – Part 2

Compiled by Martha Valentine

Friday, February 7th 1919


Although there have been three cases reported locally, the Health Officer states that they are mild cases and that there is no need or a scare.  The Health Officer wishes people to take a common sense view of the situation and take all necessary precautions by avoiding people affected and the direct contacts, also gathering in crowds.  At present the Health Officer, in conjunction with the local boards of health, with Dr Rodda, are taking all necessary precautions for the protection of public health, therefore it is absolutely necessary that the people of the district should give their co-operation.  Without co-operation there is danger of the disease extending, and every person who becomes indisposed should at once consult their medical officer.  The local board of health (the Borough Council) have a number of leaflets on the subject giving directions, which are available on application to the Town Clerk.

Tuesday, February 11th 1919



The following practical suggestions are made in order that residents of Rutherglen and the Shire of Rutherglen shall comply with the Regulations issued by the Board of Health and avoid liability to the penalty of their neglect or disobedience: —

  1. Any member of a family developing an illness of a suspicious nature shall immediately be isolated and put to bed.  One member of the family should undertake the nursing duties entailed, and no other member allowed near the patient or nurse.
  • The person nursing the patient will, as soon as one can be obtained wear a mask.
  • As little communication as possible shall take place between the person doing the nursing and the rest of the family.  The patient’s wants should be communicated in writing, or if the house be small by word of mouth but the person addressed should keep as far away as possible.
  • The remaining members of the household are “contacts.”  A contact means a person who has either been in direct physical contact, or has been near enough to the patient during the days immediately preceding the onset of definite symptoms to contract the disease.
  • Contacts will wear masks on all occasions when conversing with one another or receiving goods outside the premises or giving orders to tradesmen calling.
  • Tradesmen will be directed by affected householders where goods may be left; this spot should be carefully chosen away from the infected house, and conveniently placed for the tradesman’s round.  Orders should as far as possible be left at such spot in writing.  If by word of mouth at a sufficient distance to necessitate shouting.
  • Masks will be available at depots in the town, but, if possible, should be made at home.  Material: Butter muslin of fine gauss, in six lays, so cut and with tapes sewn to the four corners that when they are tied behind the head the bottom edge fits closely under the chin and the upper edge across the bridge of the nose and below the eyes.  They should not be worn longer than one day without sterilization, viz., boiling in water for 20 minutes.
  • Disinfection of the discharges from the mouth and nose of patients and contacts is best effected by the use of rags used to intercept discharges in the acts of coughing or sneezing; pieces the size of a small handkerchief should be given the patient and contacts, and burnt after being in use a short time; they should on no account be allowed to dry and left about the bed or under the pillow.  In addition, they should be freely sprinkled with the inhalant suggested in the pamphlet issued by the Board of Health.
  • Drinking vessels, spoons, towels, etc., used in the sick room should be sterilized by th nurse in charge of the patient.
  • Persons developing symptoms of the disease should not be taken to the doctors’ surgeries for diagnosis; by exposing themselves they incur greater risk of developing complications than if they go straight to bed, and are also a danger to unaffected people during their journey.

R.H. Berryman,

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Inquiries yesterday elicited that Mrs Jasper is convalescent and that Miss Gladys is practically in the same stage.  Mr Henderson is reported as doing well and will be about in a few days.

Rutherglen is fortunate that the cases which have come under review have of the mild character.

All permits to cross from Wahgunyah to Corowa have been cancelled.

On Saturday Mr J. Hiskins, president of the Rutherglen Shire Council arranged with the health officer, Dr Featherstone, to visit Wahgunyah on Sunday for the purpose of carrying out inoculations.

The Borough Council has received word that the results of the visit of the officer of the Board of Health is the approval of the old school building as a temporary hospital for influenza cases.  The decision may be for the best, and it may not be; there are many residents who prefer to see either the park or racecourse used, with military tents for cases that should be isolated.

On Saturday night the band was to play out, but at the request of the Mayor, to avoid congregating a crowd, no recital took place.

The wearing of masks is being rigidly enforced by the Corowa police.  It is said that a batch of defaulters is to be prosecuted.

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On Saturday it was reported that Mr Fred Gehrig, of Gehrig Bros., Barnawartha, had died in Chiltern.  It was first stated that it was from the effects of pneumonic influenza.  Our representative while in Chiltern ascertained that death was from ordinary pneumonia.

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