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State Library of NSW
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The Bubonic Plague hit Sydney in January 1900 and within eight months 103 people were dead. Carried by rats, the plague spread throughout the waterfront streets. Quarantine areas were established from 24 March to 17 July and local residents were employed in cleansing and disinfecting operations, including the demolition of 'slum' buildings. In the end, nearly 53,000 metric tons of rubbish was dumped at sea or burnt and professional rat catchers killed over 34500 rats.