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Telegrams and tent camps: The last time the NSW-Victoria state border closed

Telegrams and tent camps: The last time the NSW-Victoria state border closed
The last time the Victorian-NSW border was closed was during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1919, which killed around 15,000 Australians and 50 million people globally.
A soldier known as SL, who had returned from war in Europe where the disease was spreading fast, had travelled from Melbourne to Sydney by boat.
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A letter sent to the Prime Minister from the NSW Premier and Health Minister in 1919, when the NSW border with Victoria was closed amid the Spanish flu pandemic in 1919. It says 'I beg to notify you ... of the presence of a case of pneumonic influenza in New South Wales.' (NSW State Archives and Records)
International soldiers returning from the First World War were being quarantined at Sydney's Q Station, but as SL was travelling from Victoria, he wasn't.
A telegram to the Public Health department declared NSW to be a "quarantine area" and asked for "all necessary steps" to be taken. (NSW state Archives and Records)
SL was diagnosed with the deadly infection in Sydney's No. 4 Military General Hospital at Randwick on January 24, 1919, according to NSW government records.
Seven other cases were reported soon after - including in nurses who'd treated SL.
Schools, theatres and libraries closed over the next few days and on January 29, NSW closed the border to Victoria.
The federal government, under Prime Minister Billy Hughes, had already agreed that's what would happen if states reported cases.
However, Victoria only reported its first case the day after NSW - even though doctors had suspected the influenza had been in the city for a few weeks.
The state was criticised amid claims it had failed to act.
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Victoria's borders with NSW were last closed in 1919, when The Age declared 'Victoria Quarantined' (The Age/Trove)
The Age newspaper on January 29, 1919, declared: "Victoria quarantined."
"Yesterday Victoria followed the lead of New South Wales and declared itself an infected State, and was duly quarantined by the Federal authorities," the paper reported.
Anybody who wanted to cross the border had to quarantine for up to a week in a tent.
Nurses wear protective masks at a Brisbane hospital in 1919, during the flu pandemic. (Wikimedia Commons)
They were tested and had their temperatures taken, with pictures from the time showing large camps.
The border town of Albury was dubbed a "city of the dead" as all hotels closed and people were too scared to visit, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
But just like now, special exemption passes were available.
Quarantine sites were set up across Australia, like this one on the NSW-Queensland border, in a bid to try and stop the spread of the Spanish Flu. (National Library of Australia)
POLIO BORDER CLOSURE
Another time border restrictions were put in place between the two states was during the polio outbreak.
In 1937, children weren't allowed to cross from Victoria into NSW without papers, with police patrolling.
Melbourne schools were closed and more than 100 children died.
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