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Smallpox in Melbourne, 'Illustrated Australian News' 3 Sept 1884 (SLV Access IAN03/09/84/133)
Bill Barlow
18 May 2020
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I see that in 1897 in the Bendigo City Court my great grandfather was one of six men charged by Mounted Constable Lysaght with having neglected to vaccinate their children against smallpox virus. At the close of the 18th C this contagious disease killed 400,000 people in Europe each year and 80% of children who caught it died. After 1853 all Australian colonies, except NSW and Queensland, introduced compulsory vaccination for smallpox, and it wasn't until 1980 that WHO declared it eradicated.

My ancestor was fined 10 shillings and 2/6 costs for failing to provide a vaccination certificate, whether through preoccupation, laziness, or misguided principle we can't know.




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'Small Pox in Melbourne'; Illustrated Australian News, David Syme & Co, 3 Sept 1884 (SLV Accession IAN03/09/84/133).


Expiry Date: 
Saturday, 14 November, 2020 - 12:00
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Last seen: 4 hours 53 min ago
Joined: 20/07/2015 - 19:34

My great grandfather, Alfred Tatchell, was a police constable at Newport from 1903-1921 and in researching his history I found many newspaper articles on his bringing people described as 'anti-vaccinationists' to the Court at Williamstown.  They generally received a fine of 10s (or 3 days imprisonment).  He was very active in this campaign and I suspect it's origins go back to two of his brothers dying of typhoid at Inglewood in the late 1880s.  That no doubt made a lasting impression on a young lad, who later in life took a strong line in protecting children's health.  He also took a strong line in arresting people who were abusing their animals, mostly drivers with overloaded carts, and prosecuting the owners of malnourished and injured horses working in the local quarries.  Many thanks to Trove for making this history available and opening up wonderful new insights into my great grandfather's story - I now see the man I only knew through his final years in the 1960s and early 1970s in a whole new light.