Hospital’s past - Part 1
THE story of the Euroa Hospital really starts in Anderson Street in September 1927.
There was a private hospital called Gilburn after the two nurses who operated it, named Gilbert and Burns. They had decided to retire and after some community moves and fund raising the hospital of six beds was purchased for 1200 pounds plus the furniture for 60 pounds.
One of the first decisions to be made was to join the Victorian Bush Nursing Association (VBNA).
Ian Currie, who already had a connection with VBNA, was elected president and continued in this role for 47 years, along with an enthusiastic committee.
It soon became obvious that the hospital would not be big enough for the future, so there were further fund raising efforts to purchase suitable land on the corner of Weir and Kennedy streets.
It is worth noting here, apart from the major fund raising efforts, other smaller but sincere donations came the hospital’s way. Community efforts in donations of cakes and vegetables for the kitchen and knitting various items were a daily pattern. I wonder in this time of the depression if an occasional rabbit may have been delivered to the kitchen and put on the menu.
The sheets were repaired but when the repairs could do no more, the sheets were cut up for bandages.
“This was a time of extreme frugality and the hospital was run by three nurses and one domestic.
However, by 1930 another full time and two part time employees were assigned to household duties, according to the ‘Bush Nursing in Victoria’.
Agents were set up in the surrounding districts to collect memberships.
Plans were drawn up by the VBNA architect for a 10 bed hospital for a total cost of 4145 pounds.
“The hospital opened in 1929 with a high proportion of the districts families among its 345 subscribers. Its great success was attributable to the complete harmony between the subscribers, represented by the management committee, the ladies auxiliary and the two local doctors,” Bush Nursing Victoria reported.
“Euroa became a show place for the association.”
In the space of just 25 months an enthusiastic and dedicated group had succeeded in firmly establishing a community hospital in Euroa for the many generations to follow.
The building faced Kennedy Street with the main entrance directly in front of the operating theatre.
This operating theatre stood in good stead for the hospital for more than 50 years, with many standard procedures being under- taken by the local doctors.
By 1936 with a disciplined and conservative approach the hospital was debt free.
However, a new wing was necessary to accommodate increasing staff.
Many of the nursing staff came to Euroa for their employment and live-in quarters were essential.
The extension included a nurse’s dining room, which in later years became a very crowded meeting room for committee meetings.
The nurse’s staff wing is now the complete administration area.
Also at this time there was a major issue with overcrowding.
With only 10 beds it was possible 11 or 12 patients were in the hospital at once.
To overcome this dilemma the veranda facing Kennedy Street was enclosed to provide the necessary accommodation.
It should be remembered that the veranda was enclosed with fly wire.
Also there were large canvas blinds to protect the patients during the winter.
Even to this day the “veranda” is still in use, be it in a more sophisticated manner.
This area became an essential part of the recovery after the 1967 Southern Aurora train crash at Violet Town when 12 patients were transferred to Euroa to be treated.
With the disciplined approach of the committee, the results were observed within the VBNA organisation, and Euroa Hospital was classed as the “Jewel in the Crown” of VBNA.
50 YEARS ON: The hospital after some renovation in the late 1970s.
THE BEGINNING: Euroa Hospital during construction (circa 1925).