Typhoid fever in colonial Toowoomba and Brisbane

Masters Thesis

Hampton, Margaret. 2005. Typhoid fever in colonial Toowoomba and Brisbane. Masters Thesis Master of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Typhoid fever in colonial Toowoomba and Brisbane

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorHampton, Margaret
SupervisorConnors, Libby
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Philosophy
Number of Pages213

Typhoid fever is a forgotten disease in today's society, but for the people of nineteenth century Australia it was part of their every day lives. This thesis examines the role that the Queensland colonial government, the medical profession, and the communities of Toowoomba and Brisbane played in the fight against the disease. At separation from New South Wales the Queensland government officials were new and inexperienced and had inherited a financial debt. These circumstances resulted in cautionary governance when it came to public health policy and issues, but determination and single-mindedness when it came to development of roads and railway lines. The government’s view at the time was if the colony was to prosper then this type of infrastructure must be developed at all costs. What the government failed to realise was that the infrastructure of drainage and sewerage, associated with good public health policies, needed to go side by side with other types of infrastructure. The prosperity of the colony rested on the health of its people. Because of the failure of the government to recognise the value of strong public health legislation it was up to the medical profession and the community to be vigilant and take the challenge to the government. This study has found that throughout the second half of the nineteenth century the medical profession and the community with the support of various newspapers had to challenge the government on public health issues consistently in relation to typhoid fever. This political pressure was more successful in Toowoomba where William Groom’s leadership achieved some important engineering solutions whereas campaigns in the capital, Brisbane, were marked by diversity and divisions. Intransigent colonial government policy condemned both cities to inadequate sanitation infrastructure until the twentieth century.

Keywordstyphoid fever, Toowoomba, Brisbane, government, death
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440305. Population trends and policies
420305. Health and community services
500203. History and philosophy of medicine
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Arts
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