The Legacy of Smallpox in Sydney Cove

In 1789, a disease—widely believed to be smallpox—swept through Aboriginal communities around Sydney, wiping out at least half of the First Nations people living in the Sydney region.
 
It started 16 months after British colonists and convicts began the first European settlement in Australia.
 
It’s still debated whether the disease was introduced by settlers deliberately or by accident. Regardless, it marks the beginning of a long legacy of health challenges and issues of trust in public health, says Jakelin Troy of the University of Sydney.
 
“The development of poor health outcomes for Aboriginal people began at that time. There’s no two ways about it.”
 
ABC Australia

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