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The Heidelberg Historical Society Museum is opening on Sundays from Sunday 29th November

The Museum is opening on Sunday 29th November, Sunday 6th December, and Sunday 13th December 2020. It will be closed for the remainder of 2020, until February 2021.

With social distancing, we can only have 2 people and 1 volunteer in the Research Room and up to 4 people in the Exhibition space during each time slot between 2pm and 3:15pm and 3:30pm and 4:45pm.

Book your timeslot by email only at heidelberg.historical.society@gmail.com. This applies to our members as well as to the public.

Face masks are required to be worn inside the Museum. You will be required to leave your name and phone number as per Victorian Government regulation.

If you are not a member you can join by submitting the online application form which will be processed by our Secretary promptly.

23rd November 2020

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Heidelberg Historical Society

1919 Influenza Epidemic: a tip for avoiding contagion?

Posted on Thursday, 16th April 2020 by Janine Rizzetti

From our Facebook page March 29, 2020

Dog Box train carriage PROV12800-P0003-000-112-030

During the first phase of the 1919 Spanish Flu epidemic in January and February 1919, there were lots of stories circulating about ways to avoid contagion. The patent medicine companies were hard at work, making all sorts of claims for their products. It was also claimed that false teeth, alcohol, smoking, and gargling or inhaling a mixture of menthol, eucalyptol, camphor, oil of cinnamon and spirits of chloroform would also safeguard against catching influenza.

On 21 January,a rumour ran through the morning train on the Heidelberg and Collingwood line that a hot and dusty northerly wind was a good protection against influenza. Because the Heidelberg line was not electrified until 1921,the train would have been one of the old dog-box carriages which,amazingly, were still being used until 1974. Here’s how The Age reported it:

“This information spread from carriage to carriage and within a few minutes all windows and ventilators were flung wide open. Though the hot wind blew through the open windows and covered everyone with dust, very few complaints were made as to the uncomfortable condition of affairs” (Age 28 January p.9)

Dog Box train carriage PROV 12903-p0001-000-341-040

I have this vision of the office workers of Heidelberg and Ivanhoe stumbling off the train at Flinders Street, buttoned up in their collars and ties on a hot January morning, hair standing on end, covered in dust - but hopefully safe from the influenza!

Photos: Public Records Office of Victoria http://www.prov.vic.gov.au/

There’s a fantastic collection on the PROV site if you search under “Railways” then select the digital records.

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