This year marks a century since influenza swept through Nowra.
Historian Alan Clark has released a new book sharing how the outbreak started, where people were treated, who the nurses were who cared for them, and the stories of those who died.
Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing a few of those stories. The following is how Nowra prepared for the epidemic.
From the start of 1919 the whole of New South Wales was warned of the possibility of an epidemic of Pneumonic Influenza.
The disease seemed far away until news reached Nowra in January that the son of a former Nowra saddler, Lyndsay Claude Milton Brodie had died a fortnight before Christmas. He survived three years service in WW1, only to die of the flu.
An important figure throughout the epidemic was the government medical officer, 39-year-old Dr Frederick Arthur Rodway who'd come to Nowra in 1913 to a practice in Moss Street.
Dr Rodway said it was imperative Nowra arrange temporary accommodation (as the Shoalhaven Hosptial did not exist at the time) and regarded the School of Arts as most convenient. If the sexes were to be segregated, the West Theatre was to be used.
He advised horses should be kept close to the ambulance station, to be ready for use when needed.
At a council meeting where this discussion took place, with the Nowra Red Cross also present, Shoalhaven News proprietor Henry Rauch suggested Nowra Public School as a better temporary hospital as it was more isolated. Dr Rodway said while it was more suitable, he didn't think doctors would want to travel the extra distance, but agreed to inspect it.
The next day a telegram from the Minister for Public Health arrived, advising that the Government required Nowra to put together an administrative committee to deal with any flu outbreaks. A committee of 25 men and women was appointed.
The matter of building for the temporary hospital was still to be resolved and it needed to happen quickly. Other suggestions included Nowra Park, Nowra Showground and the Court House.
State member for Allowie, Mark F. Morton made a suggestion and conferred with Dr Rodway. On April 11 Mr Morton sent a telegram to the Minister for Education, stating Nowra Public School was the only suitable location. He received a positive reply the next day. The wider community was relived to learn of the decision.