Nurses quarters lay lifeless
FOR more than half a century it was the thriving hub of the Maryborough Hospital, the home of up to 80 nurses at a time.
Looking at it now, however, it’s hard to believe the nurses quarters, sitting vacant and neglected on Yaralla Street, ever housed a living soul.
For local health professionals, the “mismanagement” of the quarters – believed to have closed in the early 1990s – is just one of many factors that add to concerns about the future of the Maryborough Hospital.
While Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District Northern Cluster Manager Beth Norton yesterday confirmed the quarters were unused, she said: “The building is part of a planning review for future service delivery in the Fraser Coast Health Service.”
For the chair of the region’s health focus group, Gerard O’Connell, this comment was not enough.
“What has been happening – almost by stealth – is that mismanagement has resulted in facilities being able to decay and deteriorate,” he said.
“Queensland Health needs to make a public commitment to the ongoing operation of the Maryborough Hospital and they need to put in place with urgency a service delivery plan that ensures future growth of the hospital,” the councillor said.
“The facilities of the Maryborough Hospital and the nurses quarters have not just serviced Maryborough but the surrounding district. It was a vital facility for the region.
“What they need to do is find proper use of the quarters and maintain them.
“The danger of this type of thing is that when they let things become vacant and disused, they say they don’t need it anymore. The fact is that we do need it.”
Maryborough Hospital’s first nurses quarters, a two-storey building facing Walker Street, was built in 1928 following the introduction of the Hospital Nurses Award in which basic rates were introduced for nursing staff stipulating wages, hours of work and that all staff were entitled to free board.
The building was only used for 10 years, however, before it was converted to private wards and another nurses quarters was built facing Yaralla Street.
The conversion of the building resulted in the opening of 35 private wards and an operating theatre and doctor’s residence.