Pasteur in Australia A Bright Sparcs Exhibition

Previous Page Next Page The Anthrax Vaccine ----------------------------------

Soon after their arrival in Australia, the Pasteur Mission was contacted by Arthur Devlin, a grazier who owned several properties that were affected by a sheep disease known as Cumberland Disease. They agreed to look into this matter while they were in Australia, and within a couple of months the Pasteur Mission announced that they had successfully made a culture of Bacillus Anthracis from the blood of a sheep that had died of Cumberland Disease. As a result of this, it was proposed to proceed to a trial of Pasteur's Anthrax Vaccine.

Engraving of graziers and sheep The trial was held under the supervision of two graziers and three government officials at Junee Junction during September and October 1888. The trial was undertaken on thirty-nine sheep and six head of cattle. It was a complete success: all vaccinated animals remained in very good health, whereas all nineteen unprotected sheep and one of the two non-vaccinated cows died within a few days.

The success of the Anthrax Vaccine trial prompted the Government to offer Loir a laboratory and assistants to manufacture the vaccine, which would then be sold to graziers. It was some time, however, before this proposition led to concrete results.


Picture Reference
Cover illustration from Loir, Adrien, Pasteur's Vaccine of Anthrax in Australia: as a preventative against Cumberland Disease in sheep, cattle and horses, published c.1891, Sydney, held in National Library of Australia, Canberra.

Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 5 December 1997
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (
Prepared by: Guillaume Mallet and Denise Sutherland
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 19 February 1998

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