2021 Dr Anthea Hyslop: Records and recollections

This lecture is now available to watch online, and responses to the Q&A during the webinar are available here.

About the lecture

Historians of the current COVID-19 pandemic will not lack for sources with which to work, whether written, oral, or other. Official records and personal accounts abound, as does media coverage of every kind.

However, for the pneumonic influenza of 1918-1919, while formal records and press coverage are relatively accessible, personal accounts are much harder to come by. This is partly because newspaper reporting was more formal a century ago, but also because survivors of the pandemic were more likely to recall it privately, rather than in the public sphere. This was so prevalent that over time, it seemed to become a ‘forgotten pandemic’.

It was not until fifty years later that survivors’ stories began to emerge, bringing vividly to life the human dimensions of an extraordinary national and global crisis.

In this lecture, Dr Anthea Hyslop draws on both public records and private memories to show how personal experiences illuminate and enrich our understanding of the impact the ‘flu’ pandemic had in Australia.

About the speaker

Dr Anthea Hyslop is a historian living in Melbourne. From 1989 until retirement in 2009, she lectured in History at the Australian National University in Canberra. Before that, she taught at the Universities of Adelaide and of Melbourne, and at La Trobe University where she gained her PhD.

Specialising in the social history of medicine, Dr Hyslop has published several articles on Australia’s experience of the pneumonic influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, and is currently writing a book about it.