Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Bubonic plague epidemic 1900

Outbreak of bubonic plague that spread from the waterfront as rats carried the disease throughout the city. Over eight months in 1900, 303 cases were reported and 103 people died.  Millers Point resident Arthur H Payne (Paine) was diagnosed on Saturday, January 19 with the first reported case of plague in Sydney. He and his family were sent to the Quarantine Station on January 24, and their house in Ferry Lane was fumigated. He recovered and was released on Sunday, February 18. The first recorded death from plague in Sydney was that of Captain Thomas Dudley who died on February 22 at his home in Birchgrove and was buried at the Quarantine Station on February 24. In September the city was declared free of plague and the yellow flag that had been flown at the Quarantine Station was taken down. Numerous other outbreaks took place in subsequent years.

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