Diphtheria in a severe form has broken out in a family named Bailey, residing in Fenton Street, West Devonport. It seems that Mrs. Bailey, who is the wife of a contractor, was the first to suffer from the malady, but she was only attacked in a mild form. On her recovery, three of her daughters, aged respectively 19, 12 and 10, were attacked and although the two latter are slowly recovering the eldest is still dangerously ill. Dr. Payne, who was called in, immediately reported the outbreak to the Central Board of Health. To prevent a spread of the dangerous malady, it would be advisable for householders to take same precautions in having their back premises kept thoroughly clean and not allow any stagnant water or refuse to lie about.

The North West Post 15 May 1890

Remedy for diphtheria

The following remedy for diphtheria is to be the best known, at least it is worth trying. At the first indication of diphtheria in the throat of a child, make the room close then take a tin cup and poor into it a quantity of tar and turpentine, equal parts. Then hold the cup over a fire so as to fill the room with fumes. The little patient, on inhaling the fumes, will cough up and spit out all the membranous matter and the diphtheria will pass off. The fumes of the tar and turpentine loosen the matter in the throat and thus afford the relief that has baffled the skill of physicians.

The North West Post 29 May 1890

Several deaths among children have been reported at Devonport during the week, croup and congestion of the lungs being the primary causes. The local doctors have a good many cases in hand; the prevalent raw weather and the neglect to take proper care of colds being in the majority of cases, the cause of illness.

The North West Post 29th June 1893

Scarlet Fever on the Coast

To the Editor of the Examiner,

Sir, In my last I gave you some account of the fever at the Don, but I am most happy to inform you that I cannot hear a single case here at present. It seems to be paying the other places a visit, viz., Rivers Forth and Leven, and I have just been informed it has commenced its work at Latrobe.

A gloom was cast over the Don last week by the death of one of Messrs. Cummings, Henry, Co.’s workmen named George Simons, aged 32 years, a native of Launceston. He was taken with inflammation of the lungs, and after suffering a few days in great agony he died, leaving a wife and a little boy, about 8 years old. Simons was interred in the Don Cemetery, and the funeral was rather a gloomy one. It took place at seven o’clock in the evening so as to give all the other workmen an opportunity of attending the funeral. The Rev. T. E. O. Mell officiated, and at the close of the services he stated that mortality had raged very high in the district of late, considering the scanty population, for he had been on the coast short of nine months, and this was the twenty-fourth funeral he had attended.
About fifty of the deceased’s friends paid their last respect to him. What made the service more gloomy was the fact that a lantern had to be set up for the minister to read by. On the following Sabbath Mr Mell preached from Jeremiah 9c, 21v. The address was very much felt by all present. I am informed that the Congregational Churches on the coast are making an effort to obtain another minister, as the work is by far too much for their present minister to attend to.

OLD YORK – Don Feb.18
The Examiner 26th February 1876

Scarlet Fever
Sir, “Old York” is a very foolish fellow. It is well known that scarcely anything tends more to the spread of an epidemic than unreasonable fear, and he is doing his utmost to create a panic in connection with scarlatina or scarlet fever. The Sir John Moore like burial, with “the lantern dimly burning,” the over worked clergyman with burial service performances, the carefully noted number of deaths within a period of nine months, and the efforts of the people to get another clergymen to assist the Rev. Mr. Mell in these burial services, all combine to form a terrifying picture to the easily excited imagination’s of some minds. But what is the truth? How many of the deaths noted were the result of scarlet fever? I question whether one could be correctly attributed to this disease. Mr. Mell had one duty for both Episcopalians and Wesleyan clergymen both outside and in his district besides his own duties proper, and these swell the number of his burial services (24) during the period of his nine months residence on the Coast. But surely your Latrobe correspondent will keep you posted up in the ravages committed by scarlet fever at Latrobe without the intermeddling of “Old York.” During the past winter scarlatina or measles visited nearly every family on the township and yet not a single fatal case occurred. The greater part of these cases were attended to by Mr. R. C. Fairlam, a practiser of homoeopathy, and the remainder with a few exceptions by Mr. Rogers, an intelligent chemist, and one of the families missed (Mr. Clarkson’s) by the above-named disease during the past winter has lately been rather severely visited by scarlatina or scarlet fever, and I am informed that each member of the family attacked is convalescent. There is another case of sickness on the township, which from the position of the patient may cause such persons as “Old York” to attempt to spread the panic still further. I refer to the sickness of the public schoolmaster, who was laid aside by an attack of rheumatic fever, a non-infectious disease brought on, I am told, by injudicious exposure in night-fishing and untimely bathing. Beyond these I am not aware of any cause for complaint about sickness at Latrobe.

Yours truly, A.B.C. Latrobe, 2nd March.
The Examiner 9th March 1876

Scarlet Fever
Sir – In answer to “A.B.C.,” that gentleman seems to think and even says that I am a very foolish fellow. Well, Sir, there are a great many fools in the world – I think an old writer says there are about 500 different kinds of fools in the world – and I am counted as one of them. But stop, let me ask what am I a foolish fellow for? Why, just this Sir – stating as near as I could the truth, and I think if “A.B.C.” and “Old York” were placed in a balance “A.B.C.” would be found to be very short weight, and turn out the largest fool of the two.

At the same time if “A.B.C.” will be at a little trouble and look over the death rate of the colonies, and even the old countries, he will find that death has done its work in every part, and that the North-West Coast of Tasmania is not an exception to the rest of the world.

“A.B.C.” seems to think, by what I can make out, that a certain gentleman has been rather out of his boundary. Well, as far as that goes, the same gentleman is of age and is able to speak for himself.

“A.B.C.” also has an attack at a certain Latrobe correspondent. Well, I think, Sir, there is weight and tone in that gentleman to take his own part, and that without the rheumatism has got rather too tight a hold on him. I cannot say whether he is one of the 500 or not. But this I will say, if he is, he is a very large one, for I dare say that if he were put in a balance he would weigh some 18 or 20 stone, and that would be no small foolish fellow.

Yours truly, Old York. Don, March 13
The Examiner 18th March 1876

Scarlet Fever
Sir – I do not regret having written to check a growing evil – the propensity to excite a panic in connection with scarlet fever, notwithstanding the warm rejoinders of “X.Y.Z.” and “Old York.” I respect “X.Y.Z.” too highly to wittingly write anything that could hurt his feelings, even if we differed more widely, but when he reduces “Old York’s” 24 to nine he merits my thanks.

“Old York,” is even more simple than I supposed him to be. He has been called a foolish fellow, and he asks why, and gives the answer, “because he had stated as near as he could the truth”. Has he yet to learn that a man or a child may state “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” and yet be very foolish? Silence may sometimes show more wisdom or less folly than speech, and I am about to set “Old York” an example, which I would recommend him to follow, by observing silence on the subject of scarlet fever on the North-Coast.

Yours, &c., A.B.C. Latrobe, 23rd March
The Examiner 28th March 1876

Sickness on the Coast
To the Editor of the Examiner, SIR, Your correspondent “A.B.C.” in your issue of March 9 has a most appropriate nom de plume. He is not even aquainted with the a b c of the matters about which he undertakes to enlighten the public, anent interments by the Rev. Mr. Mell on the North West Coast. “Old York,” who evidently heard the address delivered by the above-named clergyman, at the funeral of the late Geo. Simmons, at the Don Congregational Cemetery, was in error in stating that Mr. Mell referred to twenty-four funerals attended by him as officiating clergyman in the nine months, etc. Having been present on that occasion, I beg to inform you that the rev. gentleman spoke of twenty-one interments. I am also in a position to state that “A.B.C.” errs egregiously when he says “I question whether one could be correctly attributed to that disease”, namely, scarlet fever. Mr. Mell has interred eighteen corpses in the Don Cemetery alone, and of that number nine were the bodies of scarlet fever patients, who had succumbed to that disease, or its sequelae. The only occasion, I understand, when the Rev. Mr. Mell has interred the remains of deceased persons in any other than the cemeteries connected with the churches on the North West Coast since he came to that part, are two, viz.: - The remains of the late Capt. Robson, at Northdown, in the absence of an Anglican clergyman; and the body of Mr Bauld’s little boy drowned in the Mersey, at Latrobe, at the urgent request of the Superintendent of the Wesleyan Sunday School there, because the Wesleyan ministers were out of the district. This latter funeral took place the same day that Mr. Mell buried the remains of an infant at the Forth, whose mother he had interred the Sunday previous in the same grave, both being, I believe, fever cases. As to “A.B.C.”s statement that “Old York” represents Mr Mell as so overworked with burials, that the people are endeavoring to provide him an assistant minister to help in these funeral services – however foolish “Old York” may be, he has too much sense to write such absurd nonsense. “A.B.C.”s questioning, notwithstanding, it remains a fact that the Anglican, Congregational, and Roman Catholic clergymen have interred the remains of, comparatively speaking, a large number who have fallen victims to the ravages of scarlet fever at Don and Forth. I think we may say, with all thankfulness, that the malady seems to have left those places, and the surviving patients are all convalescent. I write not to create alarm, but to correct the misrepresentation, unintentional of course, of “A.B.C.”, whose deliverance from that wretched disease known as cacoethes scribendi, I hope you will soon be able to announce.

X.Y.Z. The Examiner 16th March 1876

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