Eradicating a global virus

UNESCO Memory of the World registered diaries of Professor Frank Fenner now in Trove
Profile picture for user KROSS

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe and affecting us all, it is particularly special to announce that Professor Frank Fenner’s travel diaries, held in the Archives of the Australian Academy of Science, have been digitised and made available to all in Trove.

Australian scientist Professor Fenner is widely recognised for his significant role in international public health as Chair of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication. Professor Fenner’s professional diaries provide detailed documentation of the complex challenges and resounding success of a worldwide virus investigation, containment, and vaccination program.

This remarkable collection was added to the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register in 2019 and has been digitised by the National Library of Australia with support from The Asia Culture Center and UNESCO Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific.

The newly digitised collection provides an invaluable account of Fenner’s enormous contribution to scientific research and communication over more than five decades. It is also an unexpectedly rich personal archive recording Fenner’s thoughts on the implications of his work, broad-ranging intellectual interests, environmental activism, and contribution to the broader community.

Fenner, who made extensive research contributions to the understanding of viruses and the literature of microbiology, has stated that standing in front of the World Health Assembly on 8 May 1980 and declaring smallpox gone from humanity was the proudest moment of his life.

Explore the Frank Fenner travel diaries in Trove

Learn more about this significant collection at the Australian Academy of Science