About this blog

This blog is about the history of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and neighbouring areas, such as Pakenham, Cranbourne and Garfield, and any other historical subjects I feel like writing about. It's my own original research and writing and if you live in the area you may have read some of the stories before in the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society newsletter or the Koo-Wee-Rup township newsletter, The Blackfish, or the Garfield township newsletter, The Spectator.
Heather Arnold.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Medical matters at Koo-Wee-Rup

The Bush Nursing Centre at Koo-Wee-Rup was established in July 1918. Nurse Homewood was in charge. The Bush Nursing movement had begun in 1910 with the aim of supplying skilled nurses to country areas. Local committees had to pay the nurse’s salary and the Central Council of the Victorian Bush Nursing Association then supplied a nurse.

On May 24, 1923 the Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital was opened in Station Street. It was opened by the Shire President, Cr E.Simpson Hill. During the ceremony, Mrs Margaret Hamilton officially opened a ward in honor of the late Kitty Trounson (sometimes referred to as Townson). Kitty was an original member of the Bush Nursing committee. Mrs D.McNamara donated a furnished cot in the honor of her son, Jack. Mrs Appleford also donated a cot. The Hospital could accommodate medical, surgical and midwifery patients.

 Construction of the 1923 Hospital in Station Street
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph


The first Resident Doctor was Dr Andrews. Matron Tuffin was in charge with Sister Morley. In 1927 Chemist, Felix Tattam, arrived in Koo-Wee-Rup and set up in Rossiter Road. He later married Sister Tuffin. He sold the business in 1934 to Mr Brewis.

Dr Hewitt and Dr Appleford gave medical attention to the victims of the railway accident at Koo-Wee-Rup. The accident occurred on December 24, 1928. Fifty two people were injured.

 Construction of the 1923 Hospital in Station Street
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photo

In the first week of September 1930 there were five babies born at the Hospital. Daughters to Mr and Mrs Tom Burton, Mr and Mrs Frank Egan, Mr and Mrs S. Games, and sons to Dr and Mrs Hewitt and Mr and Mrs Blythman.


In 1935 the new operating theatre was opened. Lady Mitchell performed the opening ceremony and Sir James Barrett, President of the Bush Nursing Society, congratulated the hospital on its progress. In 1938, for the first time, rates of pay and conditions of work were set for nurses in Victoria. Nurses were to work a fifty hour week.


 Construction of the 1923 Hospital in Station Street
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph

In August 1939 the annual meeting of the Hospital re-elected the out-going committee. President – J.L O’Riordan ; Treasurer – W.Dick ; Secretary - G.R Burhop ;Committee Mesdames J.L O’Riordan and G.R Burhop and Messers Gilchrist and Powrie.

In 1946 an Infant Welfare Centre was established in the R.S.L room at the Memorial Hall. It moved to Alexander Avenue in 1949. In 1953 a Pre-school was established in the Infant Welfare Centre grounds. In 1960 they both moved to a new building in Rossiter Road.

1955 the Westernport Memorial Hospital was opened. On July 28, 1955 a public meeting was held to establish a Ladies Auxilliary.


The 1923 Hospital
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph

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