Gone but not for­got­ten

Monthly Chronicle - - News - Jenny Bar­lass

The old Thorn­leigh Hospi­tal could not be saved from de­mo­li­tion de­spite a pub­lic out­cry about its role in the area’s his­tory.

A cam­paign launched by a rel­a­tive of the former owner to­gether with the lo­cal protest group could not save the fate of the mod­est three bed­room her­itage cot­tage at 22 Belle­vue Street.

An ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing of the Coun­cil in mid Au­gust sealed its fate. “The house was never on our her­itage list and was never drawn to our at­ten­tion” ex­plained Philip Rud­dock on ABC Ra­dio. When own­ers pur­chased the prop­erty it had been re­zoned and the com­pli­ance cer­tifi­cate ob­tained.

Once de­mol­ished this week, in its place will be a $3.9m res­i­den­tial build­ing. But Coun­cil is look­ing at sev­eral mea­sures to en­sure the wo­man who set up Hornsby’s first hospi­tal, Nurse Jane Starkey Dawes, is not for­got­ten.

“Coun­cil’s de­ci­sion regarding 22 Belle­vue Street is a com­pro­mise that all par­ties can agree to,” said the coun­cil in a state­ment. The de­vel­op­ment will be able to go ahead and the sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal con­tri­bu­tion of Jane Starkey Dawes will be recog­nised.

“The her­itage sig­nif­i­cance was not re­lated to the ac­tual build­ing, but to the im­pres­sive work that was car­ried out by the nurse who worked there. It is now guar­an­teed that her ef­forts will not be for­got­ten.”

The de­scen­dants of Nurse Dawes in­spected the build­ing and re­moved non- struc­tural items that are of sen­ti­men­tal sig­nif­i­cance to the fam­ily, in­clud­ing door knock­ers. The de­vel­oper will also make a fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to recog­nise her im­por­tant life and work.

As part of a lo­cal his­tory ini­tia­tive, pho­tos will be taken of the mag­nif­i­cent plas­ter­work on the ceil­ing to record this and other her­itage fea­tures, and a park will be re­named in her hon­our.

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