In 1918–19 an influenza pandemic took an estimated 15,000 Australian lives, and millions more around the world. One hundred years on, as we grapple with COVID-19, this five-part series rakes through the archives of the State Library of NSW with historians, public health experts and scientists to trace the path of the 1918-19 pandemic. An eerily familiar story of loss, resilience and discovery in a world turned upside down.
TRAILER: The Burial Files
Thousands of people travel through Sydney’s Central Station every day, but how many know what once lay beneath it? This nine-part series will take you on a journey back to 19th century Sydney, to rediscover a place you thought you knew.
Episode 1: War, Peace and a Pandemic
The First World War is still raging in Europe when a mysterious disease begins killing soldiers on the Western Front. Long-practised quarantine measures ensure that when it first arrives in Sydney, it’s immediately identified and contained. But will these defences hold?
Featuring medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.
MUSIC: Rise and Shine-Piano Duet: Hannes Hofkind, Cellofan: Eracilon, Charcoal: Chad Crouch, Cellomane: Eracilon, Melancholy: ANBR Adrián Berenguer, Perpetuum II: Ad Libitum, Sad Piano: DDmyzik, Désaccords: Eracilon, Ad Libitum: Color Blue, Au fil de la nuit: Eracilon, Rising Tides 3: ANW2538_68. (All tracks amended)
Episode 2: Preparing for the Worst
An influenza outbreak seems inevitable and Australia prepares. As vaccination is rolled out, thousands of service men and women begin returning home at the end of the First World War. But how do you reunite with loved ones when death is following you home?
Featuring medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.
MUSIC: Molène: Eracilon, Seung Gong: Dylan Tinlun Chan, Tour de manège-version piano: Real Rice, Train: Sergey Kovchik, Fuguencelle: Eracilon, Promencelle: Eracilon, Balancelle: Eracilon, Sur le fil: Eracilon, The End in your Eyes: Aufklarung, Anxiety: Shymonmusic, sun s smile: Alexander Klein, Cylinder Five: Chris Zabriskie, Anxiety: Hafizzhais, The Last Post: courtesy of the Band of the Royal Military College. (All tracks amended)
Episode 3: Holding the Line
The influenza pandemic spreads and a lockdown is immediately imposed. As Sydney shuts down and masks up, will the restrictions be enough to keep the virus in check?
Featuring public health expert Professor Peter Curson and medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.
MUSIC: Anxiety: ashot danielyan, Schubert F.6 Moments Musicaux D 780 Op.94-No.3 in F Minor Allegro Moderato: On Classical, Au fil de la nuit: Eracilon, Sad Piano: DDmyzik, The End in your Eyes: Aufklarung, Satie: Christian DALMONT, Promencelle: Eracilon, Entre les cordes: Eracilon, Live: Ludovico Gonzales, Anxiety: Hafizzhais, Anxiety: Shymonmusic. (All tracks amended)
Episode 4: The Second Wave
A second wave of influenza sweeps through New South Wales. The death rate climbs and hospitals are overwhelmed. Why are some groups of people dying at much higher rates than others?
Featuring public health expert Professor Peter Curson, virologist Dr Kirsty Short, Worimi man and historian Professor John Maynard and medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.
MUSIC: Scott Joplin’s New Rag 1912: OnClassical, Cinematic: Moff, Cylinder Four: Chris Zabriskie, Belle Reve Lost: Simon Bowman, Fuguencelle: Eracilon, Sad Piano: DDmyzik, Le client: Grégoire Lourme, Funeral: Serge Quadrado, Mirage: Ad Libitum, Anxiety: Shymonmusic. (All tracks amended)
Episode 5: Aftershocks
The war and pandemic are finally over but an economic crisis looms.
Featuring historian Professor Frank Bongiorno, economic historian Professor Simon Ville, Worimi man and historian Professor John Maynard, public health expert Professor Peter Curson, virologist Dr Kirsty Short, and medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.
MUSIC: Partita No.5-5.Tempo di Minuetto: Gianluca Luisi, Molène: Eracilon, Fuguencelle: Eracilon, Seung Gong: Dylan Tinlun Chan, Forgotten: Frozen Silence, Sleep: Ludovico Gonzales, Mendelsshon-Barcarola op.19n.6: Aufklarung, Color Blue: Ad Libitum, Le client: Grégoire Lourme, The Role of a Musician: Vladimir Sterzer, Schubert F.6 Moments Musicaux D 780 Op.94-No.3 in F Minor Allegro Moderato: On Classical. (All tracks amended)
Customer ReviewsSee All
Lessons from the Past - Content A , Presentation A
I was pointed to this podcast by one of my nieces, who, remarkably, undersold the content. When viewed against the last 12 months, the successes and failures in Public Health from the Influenza pandemic have an eerie similarity to the handling of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. I live in the hope that every politician and public health official has or will listen to it. Congratulations to the producers and presenters!
Extraordinary Must Listen Podcast
An essential podcast for 2020, the Gatherings Order. It was so engaging and entertaining; such an amazing reflection on the human condition, and how despite 100 years of advances and innovation some things just haven’t changed. And what an extraordinary tribute to the fabulous collection at the State Library of NSW and the talent of the SL team in producing the series.
Informative & entertaining
Really enjoyed this podcast, the parallels between the pandemic a hundred years ago & the current one are quite fascinating.
The library acts as such a fantastic repository of the social history of our country, and the podcast presented it really well.
Can’t wait to see the exhibition when I’m in Sydney soon.