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Old Canberran’s Old Photos – Part 2 – Royal Canberra Hospital

By johnboy - 29 January 2009 64

[First filed: January 27, 2009 @ 13:56]

This is the second part of a series of photographs taken by RiotACT reader Old Canberran on his Kodak Box Brownie in 1948.

This week is the now departed Royal Canberra Hospital back in its days as “Canberra Community Hospital”.

You can click on the images to get larger versions.

He added this note when sending in these ones:

    Here’s a couple of shots of the old Royal Canberra Hospital before it became Royal and before all the additions which took place over the years. Included in the surrounding buildings was the Medical Superintendant’s house which would have been Dr JL Nott who had also been the super at the old hospital. There was also a large 2 story building for the resident nurses and this was on the other side of Lennox Crossing Road about opposite the Med Super’s house. Unlike today, the nurses all lived in and were all single young ladies.

    The original nurses quarters actually overlooked part of the old Royal Canberra Golf Course and the Molonglo River flats and further around towards Uni house was the Acton Racecourse which also housed a 9 hole golf course which subsequently became Federal Golf course in a new location where it now is. Larger and more modern nurses quarters were subsequently added to the Eastern end of the main building and the old quarters became residences for lay staff.

    For reasons best known to the politicians, this whole hospital complex was demolished to make room for a museum at the cost of a young girl’s life.

UPDATED: Inspired by all the wallowing in nostalgia going on A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster has sent in a bunch of photos with the following note:

    I am attaching some photos I took at the old hospital when I worked at ACT Government Registry in March 1995 in the old maternity ward of RCH. You might want to make a slideshow of the pics. They show the old childrens’ wards as well as the work areas including the tea room, lunch area, common room and file depository.

(Slideshow below)

What’s Your opinion?


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64 Responses to
Old Canberran’s Old Photos – Part 2 – Royal Canberra Hospital
Granny 6:57 pm 27 Jan 09

Perhaps you are right. It’s gone now so it really doesn’t matter.

johnboy 5:55 pm 27 Jan 09

It was less then 50 years old when they blew it up!

It was an ugly building in a great location and the location is still there for your enjoyment.

Granny 5:32 pm 27 Jan 09

I don’t know, JB.

I could be nostalgic about Calvary hospital because I’ve had two children there. I could be nostalgic about the new Canberra hospital because I’ve had a baby and two grandchildren born there. I could be, and am, nostalgic about my shower at home because one of my children was born in it.

But there was just a sense of history about the old building. So many people from so many generations checking in and out of life. It was kind of special. I guess you either feel that way about older buildings or you don’t.

But I think that the staff felt it. Like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. A cell in the body of humankind. You might die but the organism lives on. It’s kind of comforting, like there’s a oneness with the people who have gone before and will come after.

It’s just the vibe really.

johnboy 5:07 pm 27 Jan 09

What sense of history???

Nostalgia does not equal history.

Granny 5:05 pm 27 Jan 09

I have to agree with Qbn Gal regarding the location. The atmosphere of tranquility and the sense of history made all the difference to the mood and culture of the place. There will never be another Canberra hospital like it.

Rawhide Kid No 2 4:55 pm 27 Jan 09

Sorry, I forgot to thank Old Canberran. Who had the foresight to take these photographs for us to enjoy. I hope there are more Canberrans tooday carrying on this important tradition. What with all the fast pased changes going on now.

Rawhide Kid No 2 4:51 pm 27 Jan 09

And I loved the fact that you could open the windows in the wards and get fresh cool air blew over the lake in the evening after a very hot summer’s day. (cant do that now)

Qbn Gal 4:40 pm 27 Jan 09

Old Canberran, thanks for the photos.

As an old trainee of the Royal Canberra Hospital I must disagree with Johnboy about the site. From a therapeutic point of view it was fabulously conducive to rest and recovery by the sheer nature of the beauty of the place. I vividly remember Saturday and Sunday afternoons when we would take our patients down by the lake for some relaxation, in their bed if need be. Did wonders for the blood pressure ( ours too). It did so much to help their healing along.

gingermick 4:40 pm 27 Jan 09

Both Queanbeyan venues are just as popular to-day. Sometimes, both on the same night.

old canberran 4:11 pm 27 Jan 09

There was another hospital (private) which is not well known. It was built in the mid 30’s by a Sister Petrie in Empire Circuit and was known as the Allawah Private Hospital. It was fairly small. It is now the Sri Lankan Embassy or Chancery.

I suspect you are correct JB about the location of the CCH as far as ready access was concerned and I think that was given as one of the reasons it was demolished.

Prior to the original hospital in Balmain Circuit being built the only hospital facilities for the locals was the Queanbeyan Hospital. It and Walsh’s pub were quite popular in those days.

peterh 3:09 pm 27 Jan 09

the old hospital was designed to withstand a bombing attack during WWII. It should never have been demolished. the resources of calvary will be tested when all the new suburbs reach capacity…

johnboy 2:30 pm 27 Jan 09

BerraBoy68 said :

@JB – “For reasons best known to the politicians, this whole hospital complex was demolished to make room for a museum at the cost of a young girl’s life”.

So very well said JB!

Old Canberran’s words not mine.

If you ask me the old hospital was not in a great location and the current TCH Calvary split makes it much easier for people to access the hospitals.

But to each their own.

BerraBoy68 2:27 pm 27 Jan 09

@JB – “For reasons best known to the politicians, this whole hospital complex was demolished to make room for a museum at the cost of a young girl’s life”.

So very well said JB!

Holden Caulfield 2:25 pm 27 Jan 09

I didn’t know the history of the two golf courses mentioned, either. Top work KBB, thanks again!

Granny 2:03 pm 27 Jan 09

It’s so nice to see the old hospital again. I will always love that old place. I never knew it used to be called Canberra Community Hospital, though, which doesn’t sound nearly as grand but does sound kind of accessible and friendly.

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