Remembering the Past Australia

The Opening of Gippsland Hospital, Sale

20 August 1867

As published in the Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, 20 September 1867.

The Gipps Land Hospital, at Sale, originated with a small society, established a few years ago, for the relief of casual cases of sickness or accidental injury among indigent strangers, who were then frequently coming into Gipps Land in search of employment on public works or at the mines. At first, the society used to provide accommodation for the sufferers at the lodging houses in the town; these, however, were so crowded with boarders who required no nursing or extra attention, that the proprietors were unwilling to receive sick lodgers. A house was then taken and fitted up as a temporary hospital, with accommodation for ten patients, and the beds have generally been all occupied, thus affording relief to many who would otherwise have had difficulty in obtaining either shelter, food, or medical care, except when brought under the provisions of the Vagrant Act. 

This temporary arrangement, useful as it has been in a remote part of the country like North Gipps Land, it was felt would not long suffice to meet the necessities of an increasing population, and arrangements were accordingly made for the erection of a suitable permanent building. Funds were collected, plans invited, and eventually that of Mr Anderson, a local architect, was adopted. The site is the most eligible that could have been selected, being a reserve of five acres upon the plains, on the limit of the township of Sale, and immediately adjoining a reserve, of similar extent, for a benevolent asylum, and another laid out as a botanic garden, which at last the borough council are now improving.

Gippsland Hospital Opening 1867

The external appearance of the building (which is of brick) maybe judged of by the sketch; but this of course can give no idea of the internal arrangements. On entering at the front door the visitor finds himself in an octagonal hall, having on the right a consulting room, and on the left the dispensary. The hall will be used as a waiting-room for out-patients. Passing through folding doors into the passage beyond, we have on either hand long words, for male and female patients respectively; and behind these are closets and bathrooms. Upstairs is the operating room, well lighted from above, several small wards, and the apartments of the matron and steward. The nurses’ rooms all open into the several wards to which they are attached. The same provision is made on this floor as on the lower one for baths,. &c. The plan is one that admits of additions being made to the building from time to time should they be required.

The opening ceremony took place on Tuesday, the 20th August. The residents of Sale honoured the event by closing all the places of business, an example which was followed by the people of Maffra, Stratford, and Rosedale. About half-past twelve o’clock, the borough councillors of Sale, headed by the mayor, marched up to the building and were shortly afterwards followed by the Maffra and Sale Lodges of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, accompanied by the Sale fife and drum band. The procession having drawn up in order opposite the door of the hospital, Mr Warden Foster, president of the committee, accompanied by the Revs. Messrs Sergeant and Login, stood on the steps without; a powerful choir being in readiness inside. The Rev. Mr Sergeant then read the 100th psalm, which was effectively rendered by the choir and the people present. Mr Monger, the contractor, then handed the keys of the building to the president, who declared the new building now open. One hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen sat down to dinner. The afternoon was devoted to athletic sports, and the evening to a concert for the benefit of the funds.

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