|Bubonic Plague - first death in
Thomas Dudley is buried in the Quarantine Station because he
died of Bubonic Plague in Sydney - the first death from this cause in Australasia. He was
well known because he had at one time been a ship's captain and been shipwrecked with some
of his crew floating on a raft with no supplies. One of the crew was very sick so they
bumped him on the head and ate him.
After the crew were rescued, they were tried for murder and jailed but later released
because of public outcry. But Thomas Dudley decided to move to Australia - away from the
notoriety. Later, he died from the Bubonic Plague.
One Chinese gentlemen brought in to quarantine was decidedly
"chubby" but when forced to undress to go through the showers, it was found that
he had yards of silk wound around him - probably he was smuggling it in.
Passengers were stressed by being delayed in quarantine and
particularly so if any of their family were sick so they were pleased to see a Post Office
(from 1920 - 1939). However, imagine their dismay when they learned that all mail had to
be fumigated. At first the method used was to dip the letter in a bucket of vinegar. The
ink would run and the letter became unreadable!
Then the authorities discovered how they could cut off the corners of the letters, put in
a whole lot of pin pricks then drop it into a wire basket. The wire basket was placed in
the red barrel and fumigated with sulfur dioxide and steam.
In June 1913, a mild form of smallpox arrived in Sydney. A
sailor, working on a steamer called "Zealandia" from Vancouver, had a
mild case of smallpox but did not feel sick enough to take time off work. He was also very
attracted to one of the young women travelling on the ship. This young lady carried the
infection into Sydney.
By July, a quarantine area was declared in Sydney that radiated out in a 15 mile radius
from the central Post Office. Over 1000 smallpox patients were taken during that year to
the Manly Quarantine Station but it was a mild form of the disease and only 4 deaths