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Two influenza deaths in Boggabri (1919)

Contributed by Bill Durrant

Two of my great aunts from Boggabri died from influenza in 1919. Mary Ann Elizabeth O’Brien [nee Durrant] (1879–1919), died from Spanish flu/pneumonic influenza, leaving behind a husband and five children. Emma Jane Durrant (1885–1919) also died from lobar pneumonia after nursing family members suffering from common influenza.

Our family story goes that Emmie spent her last few months caring for her family. Several family members had been stricken by the influenza epidemic that spread through Australia following the end of World War One, and a number of them died. They were all recovering from their illness when Emmie, who had cared for them all during this time, became ill and died. She had run herself ragged caring for them and didn’t take time-out for herself. She was engaged to a young man who had served overseas, who returned the ring she had given him to her family.

Emma Jane Durrant, 1885-1919 [Image courtesy Bill Durrant]

Mary Ann Elizabeth O’Brien (nee Durrant), 1879-1919 [Image courtesy Bill Durrant]