Betty Lowis.
Betty Lowis. Contributed

If you saw the horror of disease in '40s you'd vaccinate too

WE WHO lived through the 1930s and '40s will remember how we coped with infectious diseases.

When diphtheria came to our school, carriers were found and the school was closed. If it had not been for my Grandma winning a battle with my parents, my two younger brothers might have contracted it.

A lot of people took kerosene on sugar to try and kill it.

Not my Grandma, she recognised the symptoms and rushed me off to the Bundaberg Hospital. One day, a nice couple who really liked me, came to visit me in hospital. The nurses said I was better and waiting for someone to collect me.

The couple said they would take me home and made a bed for me on the back seat of their car and it was the first time I didn't get car sick.

I really wanted to get home but I was scared Dad would belt me for coming with them.

So, I said, "thank you for bringing me home, but I can walk from here".

They laughed and said "Betty, we haven't reached Avondale yet".

I have never forgotten that.

I shouldn't have worried, Dad just thanked them for saving him a trip. I didn't hang about! The measles struck Mum and I after we entered a carriage on "Cocky's train" where a man was infected.

Mum went to hospital and poor Grandma had four kids from one to 10 years old, all with measles to care for at home. She coped in her usual, kind, calm manner.

Oh those chicken pox! Every day Mum would round us up, take the scabs off and pour metho into the holes.

That made us all hop about for quite a while.

Dad didn't believe in immunisation.

He hated it because of the tragedy of all those children dying in Bundaberg dying from contaminated diphtheria injections in the late 1920s.

It was injections though that saved my second youngest brother's life.

He was three weeks old when Mum brought him home from the hospital, into a house full of whooping cough.

I had it too, but I was 13 and old enough to be able to look after my sick brothers and sister while Dad went to work.

I wish Mum would have taken my baby brother to Grandma's farm where he would have been safe.

At four weeks he caught whooping cough and went to hospital where they saved his life.

Dad never knew about the injections.

When Bob and I had our family, we had them immunised.