Black and white photograph of a group of nurses and children, during the influenza pandemic, outside the Exhibition Building, Melbourne in 1919. In 1918/1919 the 'Spanish' influenza pandemic swept the world, it arrived in Victoria in January 1919. From February to September 1919 the Exhibition Building 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.

Description of Content

Three nurses and sixteen children and infant patients are pictured outside the Exhibition Building. Several of the children sit on a trolley with wheels. The children are dressed in oversized, makeshift dressing-gowns or wrapped in blankets. The smaller children have bare feet.

Physical Description

Black and white photograph mounted on thick green-grey card. An olive border runs around the edge of the card and around the edge of the photograph.

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