Wodonga during the 1919 influenza epidemic

From Wodonga and Towong Sentinel on the influenza epidemic.

February 7, 1919

Owing to the influenza epidemic, the Kiewa sports have been postponed indefinitely.

Health officer Dr R.H. Schlink reported that he had established an isolation depot at the racecourse but it would only be able to deal with the most urgent cases of illness as the nursing staff and equipment are limited to what was procurable locally.

The Albury District Hospital is not available to us, because of the border blockade maintained by NSW.

February 14, 1919

The position locally has materially improved since the last issue. The patient in isolation is progressing satisfactorily, while the several members of the other families affected expect to come out of isolation next week.

St Luke’s and Wodonga Presbyterian and Methodist Churches’ evening services will be conducted in the open in the church grounds.

Schools closed indefinitely as the epidemic has not been checked.

In Albury, three men were seen to jump from a goods train having travelled from Wodonga.

They were apprehended and taken to the quarantine depot, as were eight adults and two children discovered on the river bank having crossed from Victoria.

They would be in isolation for four days.

NSW residents were stranded at Wodonga owing to border restrictions, with several of them camped on the Wodonga flat.

Some had not eaten for two days.

A deputation was made to Mr Beardmore MLA asking for assistance and urging steps to allow them permission to cross the border.

The response was that financial assistance would be given for board and lodgings and the NSW government was asked if they would recoup the advancements.

February 28, 1919

Dr Schlink approached the council for assistance as he was personally having to transport patients and necessary goods to the isolation depot. He also suggested finding persons willing to attend to people who preferred to be isolated in their own home, plus the necessity for an ambulance.

An application for installation of a telephone at the isolation depot was lodged.

March 7, 1919

Schools which have been closed all year still do not have a date to re-open.

Sister Lane, who is in charge of the local isolation camp, thanks donors for cooking utensils, fruit, sweets, reading materials and old linen. More old linen would be welcome.