By Patricia Jalland
This publication examines the place and the way humans have died in Australia; how they've been buried, mourned, and honored; and the way social and local components have stimulated mortality premiums and people's cognizance of dying and loss.
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28 On 30 January, Dr Ross was ‘said to have typhus fever but in truth has a cold’ and was fast recovering. 29 But it was a different matter when Manning believed he himself had at last contracted typhus fever at the end of the voyage. He spent 20 February 1840 in bed ‘with the full persuasion that Typhus Fever had taken hold of me’. He believed he had the symptoms severely and remained very ill for four hours, after which Dr Whittaker’s remedies began to relieve his head and stomach. ’ So easily could a hypochondriac come to believe in climate as a cure for supposed typhus fever, when he probably had an ailment such as food poisoning.
6 However, many immigrants were indifferent to religion and even actively resistant to organised worship. 7 Diaries reveal that many people in steerage rejected religious consolation, even when faced with death. The level of religious enthusiasm at sea is indicated by the frequent cancellation of divine services for reasons varying from plain indifference to stormy weather or sectarian rivalry. Ship’s surgeons’ reports sometimes complained of poor attendance at religious services, which on some ships were held primarily on occasions of storms and burials.
46 Woolcock found that tubercular diseases accounted for 9 per cent of total deaths on the Queensland immigrant ships from 1860 to 1900, and as much as 20 per cent of the mortality among single men and 17 per cent among married men. Indeed tubercular diseases constituted 20 per cent of the deaths of those in the prime of life in the 15 to 29 year age group. 47 But public and medical opinion in Britain still accepted the myth of the therapeutic beneﬁts of the sea voyage to Australia for some years after Koch’s discovery in 1882.