Leaflet – ‘You Must Have a Chest X-Ray’

Commonwealth Department of Health, circa 1955

Source: Museum Victoria

This leaflet was produced by the Department of Health in Canberra in the 1950s for distribution to new migrant arrivals. It informs them that they must present themselves for a chest x-ray as part of Australia’s campaign against tuberculosis.

Details of clinics in each Australian state and territory are listed on the overleaf. The twelve languages used reflect the origins of most migrants at this time. As well as English, there is Dutch, Greek, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, German and Czech.

This particular leaflet was kept by Percival Alfred Thomas, who migrated to Melbourne from England in 1955.

All prospective migrants were screened for tuberculosis and other conditions on initial application, and again prior to embarkation, and only those deemed medically fit were accepted.

Nevertheless, cases of new or reactivated tuberculosis occurred in migrant populations in Australia, reflecting the conditions many migrants endured throughout the war, in crowded displaced persons camps in Europe, during the ship journey or even in migrant reception centres on arrival.