Matron Whitehead oversees the newborns at St Aubyns Hospital in Kingaroy, ca 1925.
Matron Whitehead oversees the newborns at St Aubyns Hospital in Kingaroy, ca 1925. Queensland State Library

LOOKING BACK: Community builds Kingaroy Hospital

AS THE multi-million redevelopment of the Kingaroy Hospital draws closer to its projected completion date of 2021, it is hard to imagine there ever not being a major hospital in the region.

However, according to a special 1935 edition of The Kingaroy Guardian and Taabinga Times, Kingaroy residents struggled without a public hospital for more than 10 years.

Patients were rushed to Gympie, Maryborough or Brisbane for treatment during this period.

The Kingaroy Hospital was erected in 1913 when a working committee was formed to negotiate details with the government.

This group then became the hospital committee which oversaw the hospital, with the support of generous community members, before the hospital was eventually overtaken by the government many years later.

The Works Department and the committee decided on a building valued at 1870 pounds ($3442), which included provision for an infectious diseases ward consisting of four beds.

In December, 1913, the department recommended a building tender of 2310 pounds ($4253) which covered all buildings, fencing and preparations of the site.

This was considered excessive and they decided to not include the infectious diseases ward and fencing.

The first doctor, J.W. Heaslop and Matron M. Dowling were appointed to the Kingaroy Hospital in 1914.

After repeated delays, the hospital was officially opened by the first Labour Government Minister for Works, the Hon M.J. Kirwan on November 18, 1914.

The residents present at the official opening heard the minister proudly declare the 3000 pound ($5524) hospital was debt free and had a remaining credit of 700 pounds ($1289) to get it started.

Queensland Health reported the original Kingaroy General Hospital was built on a five-acre block on the hillside overlooking Kingaroy, on what is now known as Apex Park.

Nurses quarters and an isolation ward were then officially opened on September 1, 1919.

The Kingaroy Guardian reported a tent was purchased by the hospital committee for the accommodation of infectious cases which sufficed until 1919.

In 1939, construction of the current hospital building on Youngman St was completed and the facility was opened to the public.

Kingaroy Hospital milestones

1914 Original Kingaroy General Hospital built on what is now known as Apex Park

1939 Construction of original hospital building

1940 Nurses quarters building, which is now the administration building, is built

1965 Maternity building built. It was renovated to residential (Farrhome) in 1993 and demolished in 2016

1965 Maternity ward in hospital converted to outpatient department and ward

1973 Bottom floor of nurses quarters building converted to offices

1979 Top half of nurses quarters building converted to offices

1979 Major renovations to ground floor of hospital

1989 Ward building built onto original building hospital building

1990 Maternity moved back in hospital building

1994 Accident and Emergency extension onto original hospital building

1997 Dental administration extension to original hospital building

1998 New main entry to hospital, modifications to emergency department and outpatient department, relocation of pathology and pharmacy

2009 Staff accommodation built

2010 Renal unit established

2012 Griffith accommodation and training rooms Allied Health building

2018 Matron Farr Oral and Community Health facility constructed.

2021 Proposed completion of Kingaroy Hospital redevelopments

 


Read more stories about looking back at history in the South Burnett here

Do you have a piece of history you would like to share for our 'looking back series?' Email through details to jessica.mcgrath@southburnetttimes.com.au

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