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Sanitary forum: The Royal Society of Tasmania and public health reform 1853-1911

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Petrow, S (2013) Sanitary forum: The Royal Society of Tasmania and public health reform 1853-1911. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 147. pp. 1-10. ISSN 0080-4703

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Abstract

In the nineteenth century Tasmania experienced a number of epidemic diseases like scarlet fever, diphtheria and, most deadly of all, typhoid. Sanitary reformers attributed the epidemics to contaminated water supplies, accumulations of decomposed rubbish, poorly built houses and the absence of underground drainage schemes. Leading reformers, most notably Dr Edward Swarbreck Hall, were Fellows of The Royal Society of Tasmania and used the society as a forum to identify the causes of epidemic disease and to explain the public health reforms that would prevent death and illness. Lectures and papers by medical doctors, sanitary engineers, and statisticians drew on the latest thinking in sanitary science and helped build momentum for public support of such reforms. This paper examines the arguments of sanitary reformers and the reaction to their interventions and concludes that between 1853 and 1911 the Royal Society was the main forum for debate on public health reform in Tasmania.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: epidemic diseases, sanitary science, statistics, public health, doctors, Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, papers & proceedings, Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 1-10
ISSN: 0080-4703
Copyright Information:

Copyright The Royal Society of Tasmania

Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2015 02:49
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2016 16:00
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