Poliomyelitis epidemics in Western Australia

Serious poliomyelitis epidemics swept the world between 1938 and 1954. Australia, and Western Australia in particular, were affected.

Cover of The Golden Age

Cover of The Golden Age

Joan London’s beautifully written novel, The Golden Age is an account of children who had contracted poliomyelitis and their families. (Review here.) The children who populate the novel are residents in a convalescent home called the Golden Age, which actually existed in Perth in the 1950s.

Reading the novel and reviewing it for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015 prompted me to examine some of my own memories of that time in Perth. The poliomyelitis epidemics influenced many aspects of life in my home town. Everyone seemed to know someone who had contracted polio. Continue reading

The Golden Age by Joan London – a review

Cover of The Golden Age

Cover of The Golden Age

The Golden Age, Joan London’s third novel, is a gem. Like her two previous, highly acclaimed novels Gilgamesh (2001) and The Good Parents (2009), The Golden Age kept me riveted to the page from start to finish.

This novel is set mostly in post-war Perth in 1954. The story centres on the Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Home. The fourteen young residents who live there have each been nursed in isolation wards in hospital during the acute phase of poliomyelitis. Continue reading