1789 Sydney smallpox outbreak

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In April 1789, Sydney, Australia, experienced one of its most violent outbreaks of smallpox when the disease swept through aboriginal and colonial Australians on the coast.[1][2] The outbreak began in early March with the first cases appearing in a tribes living near Port Jackson. [3] Aboriginal communities had no preexisting immunity to smallpox, and suffered mortality rates of around 70%. [4]

Smallpox in Sydney

Aboriginal tribes on Arnhem Land first contracted smallpox when they made infectious contact with fishermen from southeast Asia.[5][6] Governor Arthur Philip estimated that around half of the aboriginal population around Sydney harbor died in the outbreak. [6]


  1. ^ "Smallpox epidemic". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  2. ^ Chris Warren. Smallpox, the First Fleet, and Port Jackson Tribes. Event occurs at 2:14.
  3. ^ "Sydney's smallpox outbreak of 1789 - Biological warfare against Aboriginal tribes". www.nationalunitygovernment.org. 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  4. ^ corporateName=National Museum of Australia; address=Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula. "National Museum of Australia - Smallpox epidemic". www.nma.gov.au. Retrieved 2020-03-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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