Fever, Immigration and Quarantine in New South Wales, 1837-1840

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Between 1837 and 1841, the New South Wales colonial government quarantined fifteen British and Irish ships, all for typhus. The article argues that the voyage destabilised the medical identity of fevers in general and typhus in particular. Yet, the political significance of the disease travelled intact, and fed directly into broader contemporary political debates in the Australian colonies about poverty, immigration and their political relationship with Britain. These quarantines provided a platform for colonists and immigrants to contest the causes and significance of the disease. Historiographically, the article contributes to debates about quarantine, politics and immigration. By emphasising the importance of the voyage as a pathological event, it contributes to our understanding of the role of time and distance in the spread of disease and disease knowledge in the nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624 - 642
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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