1. I found this week’s lecture from Philippa Barr very insightful that revealed lots of information about Sydney that I was completely unaware of. I had some knowledge about the Black Death in England which was a bubonic plague pandemic but had no idea that a similar outbreak occurred in Sydney. It was also interesting learning that the development of Sydney was shaped around this plague rather than other circumstances.
    Barr highlights how Governments applied greater control over where and how people lived. They did this by demolishing ‘unsanitary’ houses and developing ‘citizen vigilant committees’ to identify poor practices of hygiene. This further divided citizens into social classes where the higher class usually had better personal hygiene compared to lower class citizens.
    This division led to pockets of suburbs that were typically occupied by certain classes to prevent interaction with citizens from other people. Sennett (1977) explains that “people feel their social class is a product of their personal qualities and abilities”. This led to further segregation of different social classes which led to additional urban planning and housing issues. This created a sense of fear and panic within the city which was used by the government to their advantage.
    It is clear that the government at the time utilised the plague to their advantage and created an unstable society in Sydney during the 20th century. This historical event shaped the city of Sydney in a way that can still be seen today.

    #S208UOW17 #MON1630 #TUT4

  2. When considering the industrialisation of Sydney, it is interesting to additionally note the role that migrants played in the diversification and development of cities.

    One particular ethnic group that played a role in shaping the development of cities within Australia is that of the Chinese. Due to gold rush in Australia, a number of migrants travelled from China, to seek wealth mining for gold. Those who settled in Australia congregated together creating ethnic hubs. ‘Chinatowns’ began to spring up around Australia in which there was the offering of accommodation, medicinal herbs, fresh food and other services. The establishment of this cultural hub, led to the proliferation of more, as new migrants banded together in order to assist with the assimilation into the new country.

    Additionally, the establishment of these cultural hubs led to certain areas of the city being labelled and established as belonging to certain classes of people. This led to a segregation of the social classes as well as of migrant groups.

    the civilising process is a sociological construct which is passed through generations as oral histories. The cultural diversity which develops in cities is additionally shaped by this process and allows for a multicultural spread. This brings new ideas, cultural traditions and ways of seeing things to the community, allowing for a constant diversity which continues to shape the city.

  3. In the late 19th century and early 20th century there were multiple outbreaks of plagues, many of which were caused by incoming ships. With very little knowledge of how the diseases spread or how contagious they were, the government decided that isolation for extended periods of time was the best option for the safety of infected individuals and healthy community members. We know today that the plague is spread by fleas that have contracted the disease from rats and then pass it on to humans. However, would we still consider the government abusing their power by sending people to isolation?

    As nobody really knew how the plague was contracted or how it was spread, anyone who came into contact with someone who was ill with the plague were sent to the North Head Quarantine Station on Sydney Harbour. Whilst this may sound like a relaxing break, people entering the station were put through harsh conditions. All belongings were thoroughly cleaned by a giant oven and individuals were required to shower and clean themselves in acid to remove the disease. These individuals were then placed in different areas of the station based on class and stayed here for long periods of time. The living quarters differed greatly between the classes, as did the services available. Majority of the individuals sent to the station for the plague didn’t actually have the disease and as a result, often spent time away from family members or friends.

    The harsh and extreme conditions people had to endure as well as the segregation of classes created a sense of panic and fear within society, causing society to become unstable. The areas in Sydney where the plague was most common as well as the Quarantine Station used to isolate the possibly ill, are now popular tourist destinations. So is it now safe to say that society beat the government and we hold the power?

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