A century ago, a world already at war faced its worst-ever natural disaster: Spanish Flu. But in late 1918, this plague, which would claim as many as 100 million lives, was yet to infect Australia, with Sydney’s North Head Quarantine Station becoming the frontline in the battle against the deadly invader. Young nurse Annie Egan was among those brave souls who risked their lives to help the infected. Her fate sparked a furore — and foreshadowed what awaited many Australians in 1919. Listen to the episode on: iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or at the links below. And be sure to subscribe to get every episode delivered free the moment it’s released.

Masked patrols roamed Sydney’s streets, trying to assist sick people in their houses.

1918.12.29 - The Sun headline - Goblin of Horror

Tabloid newspaper The Sun stirred panic with this headline. Even 70 years later survivors would talk of having faced the Black Death.


Patent medicines and quack cures were peddled to a panicked population. Even tobacco smoke was claimed to be a Spanish Flu fighter.


Annie Egan. Sydney’s archbishop described her as a martyr who’d been done a great injustice by the Federal government.