Chapter 11

Queensland Polio Outbreak 1941

Sometime around 1940-41 there was a poliomyelitis outbreak in Queensland. This resulted in paralysis of the affected limb and there was controversy over the treatment for this paralysis, ranging from immobilisation of the limb to manipulation and massage.

Anyway Ian was diagnosed with polio and spent some time in Wattlebrae Hospital for infectious diseases. The home was quarantined for a couple of weeks and I was kept home from school. The polio resulted in Ian having to wear a steel brace on his left leg and boots and have special built up shoes, boots and irons. I’ve forgotten how long he had to wear the brace but fortunately it did not noticeably affect him for playing sport later such as basketball and rugby. My mother relied on me to keep an eye on my little brother and he was around most times with me and my mates.

There were economy drives in everything and it was around this time our marquee tent was requisitioned for the services. It never came back and I think we were paid a token sum for it at the end of the war. In addition to the Commonwealth Savings Bank savings accounts where sums like sixpence were paid in and recorded at primary school each week there was also war savings stamps and bonds. The Scout movement was organised to collect materials needed for the war effort. This included copper, aluminium, brass, lead etc, as well as cardboard boxes and once or twice a week we would collect packing cartons from the rear of the larger stores and deliver them to the central collection point. Our billy carts were used for this. We stayed in Cubs until age 12 then transferred to Scouts.

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