The COVID-19 pandemic may be "just a flu", but it's not the first time a flu pandemic has touched the Shoalhaven.
In 1919 the Spanish Flu swept through Nowra.
Historian Alan Clark released a book in 2019, sharing how the outbreak started, where people were treated, who the nurses were who cared for them, and the stories of those who died.
We are sharing some of those stories below.
How Nowra prepared
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.
How the Red Cross and doctors worked to treat patients
Five local deaths happened before the hospital could be opened in 1919 but all was in place by Monday, June 30, 1919.
Mayor Holloway was among those who assisted the Red Cross members in preparing a wing of Nowra Public School, comprising two wards. Nurses were accommodated in the Church of England Hall across the road.
The first patients came from Numbaa - Mrs Alice Watson and daughter Margaret. The next day she was joined by one of her sons.
The driving forces behind the Red Cross efforts was its president, 45-year-old Gertrude Roberts.
Gerry Kvarnstrom was appointed as orderly. He'd recently returned from service in the Great War.
Additional nurses were sought, with concern that some of the staff had become patients, including Nurse Williams and volunteers Miss Emma Bice and Mrs Clara Ison. When admitted, Mrs Ison had been considered a hopeless case, but two nurses were assigned to her and she recovered.
On July 23 it was reported that the hospital had 14 patients, which was taxing the accommodation and nursing staff. Red Cross had become short on funds, but there was immediate support and when the first lot of donations was published, it totalled more than 35 pounds ($63).
By the end of the month, the epidemic was on the wane and the temporary hospital was left with three patients, cared for by one day and one night nurse.
The hospital was closed but some nurses were kept to deal with any fresh cases. Within days it was business as usual at Nowra Superior Public School, with classes resumed on August 4.