The Gatherings Order podcast cover image. Depicts two people wearing masks, one in 1919 clothing, one in 2020 clothing.

The Gatherings Order

In 1918–19 an influenza pandemic took an estimated 15,000 Australian lives, and millions more around the world. One hundred years on, as we grapple with COVID-19, this five-part series rakes through the archives of the State Library of NSW with historians, public health experts and scientists to trace the path of the 1918-19 pandemic. An eerily familiar story of loss, resilience and discovery in a world turned upside down.


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The war and pandemic are finally over but an economic crisis looms.

Featuring historian Professor Frank Bongiorno, economic historian Professor Simon Ville, Worimi man and historian Professor John Maynard, public health expert Professor Peter Curson, virologist Dr Kirsty Short, and medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.

MUSIC: Partita No.5-5.Tempo di Minuetto: Gianluca Luisi, Molène: Eracilon, Fuguencelle: Eracilon, Seung Gong: Dylan Tinlun Chan, Forgotten: Frozen Silence, Sleep: Ludovico Gonzales, Mendelsshon-Barcarola op.19n.6: Aufklarung, Color Blue: Ad Libitum, Le client: Grégoire Lourme, The Role of a Musician: Vladimir Sterzer, Schubert F.6 Moments Musicaux D 780 Op.94-No.3 in F Minor Allegro Moderato: On Classical. (All tracks amended)

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A second wave of influenza sweeps through New South Wales. The death rate climbs and hospitals are overwhelmed. Why are some groups of people dying at much higher rates than others?

Featuring public health expert Professor Peter Curson, virologist Dr Kirsty Short, Worimi man and historian Professor John Maynard and medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.

MUSIC: Scott Joplin’s New Rag 1912: OnClassical, Cinematic: Moff, Cylinder Four: Chris Zabriskie, Belle Reve Lost: Simon Bowman, Fuguencelle: Eracilon, Sad Piano: DDmyzik, Le client: Grégoire Lourme, Funeral: Serge Quadrado, Mirage: Ad Libitum, Anxiety: Shymonmusic. (All tracks amended)

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The influenza pandemic spreads and a lockdown is immediately imposed. As Sydney shuts down and masks up, will the restrictions be enough to keep the virus in check?

Featuring public health expert Professor Peter Curson and medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.

MUSIC: Anxiety: ashot danielyan, Schubert F.6 Moments Musicaux D 780 Op.94-No.3 in F Minor Allegro Moderato: On Classical, Au fil de la nuit: Eracilon, Sad Piano: DDmyzik, The End in your Eyes: Aufklarung, Satie: Christian DALMONT, Promencelle: Eracilon, Entre les cordes: Eracilon, Live: Ludovico Gonzales, Anxiety: Hafizzhais, Anxiety: Shymonmusic. (All tracks amended)

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An influenza outbreak seems inevitable and Australia prepares. As vaccination is rolled out, thousands of service men and women begin returning home at the end of the First World War. But how do you reunite with loved ones when death is following you home?

Featuring medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.

MUSIC: Molène: Eracilon, Seung Gong: Dylan Tinlun Chan, Tour de manège-version piano: Real Rice, Train: Sergey Kovchik, Fuguencelle: Eracilon, Promencelle: Eracilon, Balancelle: Eracilon, Sur le fil: Eracilon, The End in your Eyes: Aufklarung, Anxiety: Shymonmusic, sun s smile: Alexander Klein, Cylinder Five: Chris Zabriskie, Anxiety: Hafizzhais, The Last Post: courtesy of the Band of the Royal Military College. (All tracks amended)

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The First World War is still raging in Europe when a mysterious disease begins killing soldiers on the Western Front. Long-practised quarantine measures ensure that when it first arrives in Sydney, it’s immediately identified and contained. But will these defences hold?

Featuring medical historian Dr Peter Hobbins.

MUSIC: Rise and Shine-Piano Duet: Hannes Hofkind, Cellofan: Eracilon, Charcoal: Chad Crouch, Cellomane: Eracilon, Melancholy: ANBR Adrián Berenguer, Perpetuum II: Ad Libitum, Sad Piano: DDmyzik, Désaccords: Eracilon, Ad Libitum: Color Blue, Au fil de la nuit: Eracilon, Rising Tides 3: ANW2538_68. (All tracks amended)

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