As Tasmania braces for coronavirus (COVID-19), let's explore the outbreak of pneumonic influenza in 1919.
As the Spanish Flu caused havoc in Australia and globally in 1918-19, Tasmanians felt Bass Strait offered some protection.
As a precaution Launceston and Hobart became the only two ports where passengers could land, followed by a seven-day quarantine period. Cargo ships waited near Middle Island for a week before sailing up the Tamar.
In Launceston a vaccination depot opened at the Albert Hall and the Majestic Theatre fumigated patrons during performances. The trams ran with windows and doors wide open.
The Verulam Isolation Hospital in Quarantine Road was ready to accept 100 patients, although it had only one pipe delivering water.
The Wellington Square State School, converted into an emergency back-up hospital with bathrooms added, doubled the capacity. Miss AC Irvine was on standby to supervise the cooking.
The first Tasmanian victim died in Hobart on August 14, 1919.
The government swung into action declaring that from Saturday August 16, 1919 all libraries, schools, churches, theatres, public billiard rooms and halls would be closed until further notice.
Football matches, race meetings and outdoor amusements were prohibited.
Three patrons only could be inside a hotel for five minutes at a time.
Gauze masks were to be worn when using public transport.
Launceston Mayor, George Shields, received this proclamation at 9pm on Saturday night and immediately carried out the instructions with the aid of police.
They cleared picture theatres, a meeting at the Mechanics' Institute, and the National Theatre, where Martin Dobrilla had to curtail his Tasmanian record for club-swinging.
Within a few days there were about 60 cases of pneumonic influenza in Hobart, Port Cygnet and Campbell Town, and the sale of camphor and eucalyptus was brisk.
Launceston experienced a sudden increase in people with the ordinary flu and many workers stayed at home.
It still came as a shock when the first Launceston victim of the pneumonic influenza, Dr RC Irvine, died on August 26 at his residence in Cameron Street.
The virus spread quickly; Veralum proved too far from the city and Wellington Square became the main hospital.
Dr Camm and two nurses had a heavy workload until more nurses from Melbourne relieved the dire situation. Many doctors became ill, and volunteers treated afflicted people in their own homes.
In some cases, whole households succumbed.
The Albert Hall became a relief depot, with Mrs Robson in charge of the kitchen and Nurse Searle supervising nurses and aids. Boy scouts ran messages and helped wherever they could.
The Mayor declared Launceston a 'clean city' on October 6 and lifted all restrictions after the epidemic claimed 27 Launceston lives and 140 Tasmanians.