A Fraser Coast iconic health facility turns 130 this year

MARYBOROUGH HOSPITAL ANNIVERSARY: This is a photo of hospital staff in 1906. Credit: Maryborough, Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society
MARYBOROUGH HOSPITAL ANNIVERSARY: This is a photo of hospital staff in 1906. Credit: Maryborough, Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society Contributed

MARYBOROUGH Hospital opened its doors in 1887.

Last year along, it had more than 65,000 patient contacts.

This iconic Fraser Coast health facility will turn 130 in May. When the hospital first opened it had 13 staff which included a resident surgeon, a matron, three nurses, a secretary, a dispenser, a housemaid, a laundress, two cleaners, a wardsman and a caretaker gardener.

Starting off with four buildings, there were 667 patients treated there in that first year of operation.


Maryborough Hospital in 1890. Credit: Maryborough, Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society
Maryborough Hospital in 1890. Credit: Maryborough, Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society Contributed


The original nursing uniform was a long black dress with a white apron, which some considered too funereal-like. By the turn of the century, uniforms changed to a lighter colour and continued to evolve.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board chair Peta Jamieson said the the major milestone would be marked with a family fun day.

"Many people have shared in Maryborough Hospital's history over the years, whether as patients, staff or relatives," Ms Jamieson said.

"So we wanted to share a day with the community as a way of saying thanks for being on the journey with us, while also helping to fundraise for the hospital auxiliary and the Wide Bay Hospitals Museum."

The family fun day will be on the hospital grounds and the neighbouring museum on May 20, from 10am-2pm.


When Maryborough Hospital opened on May 20, 1887, the Maryborough Chronicle - predecessor to the Fraser Coast Chronicle - was there to cover it.

The Chronicle edition of Saturday, May 21 featured a lengthy story on pages 2 and 3 about the opening ceremony, including the street procession, the closure of most businesses in Maryborough that day, the handing over of the key to the matron, and an exhaustive account of the opening speeches.

The Chronicle also reported that after the ceremony was over, the new hospital buildings were "stormed by the curious".

"Upstairs and downstairs the people crushed, and expressions of approval and admiration were expressed at the neatness of all the fittings and the comfortable appearance of the wards," it reported.

The Chronicle also noted that while the Women's Christian Temperance Union did a brisk trade in fruit, cakes and refreshing drinks, hotelier Mr Evans Brown did a rather busier trade by setting up a "prosperous branch" of the Globe Hotel on hospital grounds.

Topics:  fraser coast general-seniors-news maryborough hospital medical noticeboard

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