EDITORIAL: It is a sad day for many long-term residents of Fraser Coast.
The news on Wednesday night that the old Stephen's Hospital is to close will leave some champions of the community feeling deep disappointment and emptiness.
It could never be argued that there was any shortfall in their efforts to keep the historic hospital open.
Dedicated residents whose ages would make a more than respectable cricket score took up the battle with gusto and motivated those around them to join in the fight.
When a petition of 12,208 signatures was presented to Uniting Care Health, asking that the doors of the hospital be kept open, one wondered whether there might still be a glimmer of hope.
But yesterday it became clear Uniting Care Health could reach no suitable solution.
So where to from here?
Negotiations with interested parties will continue after the hospital closes, so the battle is not entirely over.
A public-private deal was ruled out long ago, but some are still pinning hopes on a successful outcome involving the Friendlies Pharmacy Group.
One would suspect there will still be solid lobbying from interested Maryborough residents to keep the building as some form of medical facility.
Let's hope they are successful.