14-year-old Balmain boy dies from world's deadliest virus!

Friday 4 September 2020

As we grapple with COVID-19, the State Library of NSW unearths rare first-hand accounts of the deadly 1918-19 influenza pandemic while tracing its startling familiar story of social distancing, quarantine blunders, dubious cures and mask wearing.  

The Spanish flu, as it was known, claimed more lives in 1918-19 than the First world War, yet we know very little about the people who were tragically impacted ... until now! 

State Library Senior Curator Elise Edmonds has raked through the State Library’s archives to piece together lost personal stories of those ‘sacrificed to duty’ and those who succumb to the battle with the Spanish flu at home!  These stories are told through the Library's new public display PANDEMIC! and podcast series The Gatherings Order.

The Gatherings Order runs over five episodes and features historians, public health experts and scientists. Available here.

PANDEMIC! is on show at the State Library from 5 September to 24 January 2021 and features original material from the 1918-19 influenza pandemic and newly acquired items documenting the impact of COVID-19. 

Download full media release