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Greetings from Foxton, with an inset of the Main Street of the town

Greetings from Foxton, with an inset of the Main Street of the town

I originally purchased this postcard because of the Foxton subject matter, but it’s what’s on the back that is really intriguing. 

 I originally thought that the vaccination might refer to influenza, but the major outbreak wasn’t until 1918. Based on some web searches I’ve done it seems likely that the vaccination might be to do with smallpox.

 The 1918 influenza pandemic was an anomaly in New Zealand and the world’s experience of influenza. New Zealand experienced intermittent outbreaks of influenza throughout the 19th and early part of the 20th century. But since a serious outbreak in 1907 the rate of death had steadily declined. By 1913 other infectious diseases, such as smallpox and tuberculosis, were of greater concern to health authorities. (Source New Zealand History Online)

Other sources talk about an outbreak of smallpox in 1913. Had the Mr Gray mentioned on the postcard caught the disease and now had smallpox scars, hence the question “has he decided about his face yet?”. Whatever the dangers Mrs Gladsome doesn’t appear to be keen on the idea of vaccination. She also makes an interesting comment “there is such a lot back here from the effects of it” – does she mean people returning to the area to escape the outbreak elsewhere?

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