Unlike current approaches to Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the way health authorities in WA responded to Venereal Disease during the first half of the 20th century shows dramatically how times have changed.
The creation of the 1911 Health Act, which led to the construction of 57 Murray Street, was recognition by authorities of the need for a better approach to managing disease as proven when The Plague arrived in WA in 1900.
The Queen and Polio
For Public Health staff from 57 Murray Street, the visit by Queen Elizabeth to Western Australia in 1954 helped spread awareness of the disease.
Polio, officially poliomyelitis, was a shocking disease that caused the deaths of hundreds of Australians and left many more severely disabled but WA’s relative isolation was no protection against outbreaks here.
Dr Everitt Atkinson
The Commissioners of Public Health from 57 Murray Street were powerful and highly influential but few took their responsibilities quite as far as Dr Everitt Atkinson in the 1920s.