City in Masks
More than 300 people died in Brisbane from Spanish Flu, making it the city’s worst natural disaster. The population in 1919 was around 190 000, so scaling that mortality to Brisbane in 2019 would mean more than 2000 fatalities in a period of six or eight weeks.
The story of the impact of the Spanish Flu in Brisbane has been documented in City in Masks: How Brisbane fought the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1919, written by Brisbane author Matthew Wengert. City in Masks is a narrative history of Brisbane’s experience during the Pneumonic Influenza epidemic in 1919. It is the story of one small city’s fight against the biggest outbreak of infectious disease in history.
The Research for this book was funded by Brisbane City Council’s Lord Mayor’s Helen Taylor History Research Award, which Matthew received in 2018. The book will launch on 9 February at the Museum of Brisbane bookshop.