National Archives of Australia

Cartoon depicting the Melbourne plague

Page(s): 1  
Title: Cartoon depicting the Melbourne plague
Date: 19 May 1900
Keywords: epidemics, health, cartoons, medical practitioners, communicable diseases, quarantine, contagious diseases, plague, pandemic, bubonic plague, Hamlet, doctors
Record creator: Department of Health, Central Office
Reference: CP567/1, Box 4

Hamlet - the Plague


Learning content

This black-and-white cartoon, published on 19 May 1900, depicts the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Melbourne by using imagery and a stanza from Shakespeare's play Hamlet. A seven-line quotation from Act I Scene IV is printed below the image. The drawing shows two contemporary Melbourne figures, Dr John Elkington and Dr Dan Gresswell, who are represented as the characters Horatio and Hamlet respectively. The men are standing in front of the spectre of a ghost on which is printed the word 'plague'.

Educational value

Learning content partnership

This learning content – description and educational value statement – co-created by National Digital Learning Resource Network and National Archives of Australia.

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