Black and white image of beds in the men's ward on the ground floor of the Exhibition Building, Melbourne. Original image from "Sydney Mail" of 19 Febuary 1919.

In 1918-19 the 'Spanish' influenza pandemic swept the world. It arrived in Victoria in late January 1919. From February to September 1919 the Exhibition Building in Melbourne was transformed into a hospital as the city's hospitals were unable to accommodate all the patients. The banqueting room and committee rooms were divided into cubicles to accommodate nursing staff, while other nurses slept in a nearby school or on the veranda behind the western annexe. The patients occupied the exhibition halls: female patients between the concert platform and the dome, male patients in the great space beyond. The basement housed a morgue, and outside the area under the grandstand became a laundry. The hospital was capable of accommodating 1500 people and by mid-August 1919 it had treated 4046 cases, 392 of whom had died.

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Exhibition Building used as a hospital during influenza epidemic.

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