That they had already skilled quarantine, too, after a false begin from Scotland, when their ship hit rocks and needed to be taken again to harbour for repairs. Over a number of weeks in port, scarlatina (scarlet fever), measles and at the very least one case of smallpox have been detected. They have been lastly allowed to sail, although seven youngsters had died.
The sorry saga is advised by Olive Moore, a descendent of one of many ship’s immigrants, in her 1990 ebook Flying the Yellow Flag.
Because the ship got here by means of Port Phillip Heads in 1840, it was both typhus, unfold – just like the plague – by fleas, or typhoid fever, from contaminated water or meals.
Ten of the 157 immigrants who had left Greenock, on Scotland’s west coast, have been useless, and 50 have been listed as sick.
Melbourne had no quarantine services when the ship, the barque Glen Huntley (later normally written as Glen Huntly in Melbourne), arrived on April 17.
Encircled by sea, Australia had been involved from the beginning of European settlement concerning the necessity of a quarantine system to profit from its pure border.
Early European settlers had witnessed what occurred when illness, launched from Britain, scythed by means of the Indigenous inhabitants.
In truth, the arrival of the Glen Huntly would hasten the destruction of Aboriginal tradition inside fast-growing Melbourne, although not by means of an infection.
First, nonetheless, the newly-appointed superintendent of the Port Phillip District, Charles La Trobe, ordered the Glen Huntly to anchor off what’s now Elwood – distant from settled Melbourne.
Melbourne’s first medical man, Dr Barry Cotter, rapidly organised a quarantine tent camp at what was often called Little Crimson Bluff, now Elwood’s Level Ormond.
There have been two separate camps – the “wholesome camp” for these not displaying indicators of illness, and the “sick camp”, overseen by the ship’s physician, Surgeon Superintendent John Brown. Three males died within the sick camp inside days of touchdown – the one fatalities in quarantine.
Safety was the primary concern. Whereas a “Income cutter” – a Customs boat – saved different craft away from the Glen Huntly, 5 members of the army stood guard on the camp. Moreover, in accordance with a doc signed by La Trobe, “a mounted trooper of the Border Police will … act as a method of communication between the Constable and the authorities when mandatory”.
The Border Police have been much less police than thugs established in late 1839 to “shield” squatters from the Aboriginal folks whose land was being stolen. They have been convicts, former army males jailed for prison behaviour, and have been unpaid aside from being provided with horses, rations and tools.
Should you have been to go to Elwood Pier on the finish of Head Road, Brighton, you’d be capable to view a set of tile panels created within the 1990s by artists Hedley Potts and Tony Hutchison commemorating the outdated quarantine station. Certainly one of them contains a scruffy fellow on a broken-down horse – the unnamed, unpaid convict who was Melbourne’s hyperlink between its first quarantine set-up and the city’s administration.
By some means, this association didn’t result in transmission of fever to Melbourne’s wider inhabitants, in contrast to the mayhem brought about when COVID-19 escaped from resort quarantine within the metropolis this yr, presumably borne by a low-paid safety guard.
The unlucky passengers and crew from the Glen Huntly had no shelter as luxurious as a resort, in fact: they’d nothing however flimsy tents because the chilly days and colder nights turned from autumn into winter.
Provides have been dropped at them from the market gardens then established inland round what’s now known as Ripponlea. The observe to the quarantine station grew to become often called Typhus Street. Right now, it’s Glen Huntly Street.
These carting the provides didn’t enter the camp: they left the provisions at a distance, marked by a barrel.
However the Indigenous folks of the world, the Yalukit Willam clan of the Boon Wurrung folks of the Kulin Nation, had gathered meals within the space endlessly. Eels and greens got here from swamps close by, and 3 times per week girls collected shellfish from the reef off Little Crimson Bluff – which had immediately develop into the quarantine web site. They refused to consider they have been in danger from a illness they believed solely affected white folks.
La Trobe settled the matter by issuing an edict on April 19, 1840, ordering the assistant protector of Aborigines, William Thomas, to expel all Aboriginal camps from Melbourne.
And so the ghastly story of the Glen Huntly morphed into the even ghastlier story of the destruction of Indigenous tradition.
The final of the Glen Huntly’s passengers left the quarantine station on June 13, 1849.
The bluff itself was gone, levelled for landfill, by the early years of the 20th century.
However the results of quarantine, it appears, go on endlessly.
Tony Wright is the affiliate editor and particular author for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.