Hobart Homœopathic Hospital - a Description

  • Abstract:

    Copy of an article from The Mercury on Wednesday 27 September 1899.

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)






Hobart Homœopathic Hospital

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 1899-1932


The formal opening of the Homœopathic Hospital recently established in Hobart took place yesterday [26 September 1899], when the ceremony was performed by the Right Hon. Sir Edward Braddon and Lady Braddon. It may be stated at once that this is but the second of its kind founded in the Southern Hemisphere, the other being the fine institution bearing the same name on the St. Kilda Road, Melbourne. The Victorian institution had an even humbler beginning than the Tasmanian one, for it began as a dispensary for outdoor patients. Now it has grown to a large hospital whose buildings comprise a main structure facing the St. Kilda Road with a wing at either end running south and forming angles with the main building. The second wing was built in the time of the “land boom” by Mr. J.S. Hosie, who recently died in Melbourne. Doubtless the promoters of the Hobart Homœopathic Hospital would welcome one or more benefactors of that kind.


The Hobart Hospital has been begun in a house formerly used as a private dwelling. But had the committee chosen a site and erected a building themselves they could not have produced anything more suitable for the purpose than what they have got ready made at “Wellington Grange,” as the mansion is called. Viewed from the Cascades Road, the house, which stands a little off the road in the midst of four and a half acres of land, is a solid square building of grey stone, showing eight windows to the north. The avenue leading to the house is from the Cascades Road (or Upper Macquarie Street), and the principle entrance to the building faces the east, on which side there are five windows. The property at present is being rented, and the house carries with it one acre of land; but there are in addition three and a half acres attached, a portion of which is let to a market gardener. Should, therefore, the property be at any time bought by the hospital committee they will have the abundant grounds necessary for a large hospital, and the conformation of the building at present on the land will adapt itself to any mode of enlargement which might be adopted.


The hospital is within 300 yards of the city boundary, and is part of the real estate of the late Mr. John Fisher. The house is built of stone, with slate roof, and has been thoroughly overhauled at considerable cost, and is now in first-class order. The drainage, ventilation, and all the adjuncts necessary for making it a perfect hospital, on a small scale, have been carried out under the supervision and to the satisfaction of the secretary and engineering inspector of the Central Board of Health. The work of repairing, renovating, and painting the building, inside and outside, was entrusted to Messrs. Stabb Bros., who were also employed by the hospital managers to do what was necessary for complying with the requirements of the Central Board of Health. The internal arrangements are in harmony with the exterior of the building. The rooms are large and lofty, well ventilated, and fitted with all necessary for the comfort of patients and those having care of them. The ground floor is occupied by the hospital staff, and the upper floor contains the wards for patients – one for men, one for women, and a third for children.


On entering the hall, one is in the midst of the apartments of "the staff" - the matron, the resident physician, and the nurses. On the north side are a large room which will be used for the present as a dormitory by the nurses, and a smaller room which will be the dining room for the staff. On the south side are the matron's drawing-room or sitting-room, and the resident surgeon's private apartment and office. At the end of the hall is the kitchen. On the upper floor the women's ward looks to the east, the men's ward to the north, and the children's to north and east. The women's is the best of the three with respect to aspect; it has a splendid view east-ward showing the city and the river and the hills beyond in the distance. There are three beds in the men's ward, the same number in the women's, and three tiny beds and three little cots in the children's ward. Between the children's and the women's ward is a ward pantry, whence a nurse commands the three wards. The matron's private room is also on this floor. The floors of the wards are covered with linoleum, and all the walls have been recently painted. The rooms are hung with cheerful pictures, those in the children's ward being entirely subjects at once to interest the little ones when their state of health will allow them to be interested in anything external. The beds at present used are temporary wooden stretchers, upon which are laid wire mattresses. There is a bathroom on either floor. Yesterday everything was in admirable order, and the whole establishment presented the appearance of a well-equipped and well-managed little hospital. Three or four nurses flitted about in pink gowns and white caps and aprons, and suggested the skilled attention and womanly tenderness which are the essence of good nursing. The building will have the full benefit of the sun during the day. The sunrise can be seen from the women's ward and his setting from the men's. The pure air from Mount Wellington will be breathed in this picturesque little hospital at its foot, and the eye of the sick person will be gladdened by the varied scenery by which the spot is surrounded.


The first Resident Medical Officer is Dr. Bernard Thomas, who has had seven years’ experience in a similar institution at Liverpool, England. The matron is Miss Sly, who has graduated in the Hobart and Melbourne hospitals, and has also had experience in Western Australia, whence she had recently returned.


Amongst those present at the opening of the hospital yesterday were: - The Hon. W. Moore (Chief Secretary), Dr. Gutteridge, of Launceston (representing the Northern Centre of the Homœopathic Association), Dr. H. Benjafield, Mr. J.W. Evans, M.H.A., Mr. T. Whitesides, Very Rev. P.R. Hennebry, Mr. M. Mason, Alderman G. Kerr, Dr. Gibson, Rev. A. Cass, Rev. A. Wayne, Rev. Pastor Blaikie, Rev. Thomas Kelsh, Rev. H. Henwood Teague, Rev. W.R. Cunningham, Rev. H. Bride Barber, Mr. W. Humphrey Page, M.H.A., Mr. G.S. Seabrook, Rev. R.A. Thompson, B.A., Hon. F.W. Plesse, M.L.C., Rev. B.W. Heath, Mr. W. Lake (City Missionary), Mr. H.T. Gould, Mr. A. Riddoch (City Coroner), and Mr. G.S. Crouch. Altogether about 200 ladies and gentlemen were present, and the large attendance so taxed the available accommodation that although rain was falling all had to remove into the quadrangle to hear the Premier's address. Lady Braddon was presented by one of the nurses, representing the staff, with a superb bouquet.


The Premier said it was his pleasure today to declare open the second Homœopathic Hospital south of the Line. (Applause.) It was something, he thought, of which the people of Hobart might well feel proud, inasmuch as they had shown by their interest in this institution and their work to promote it that self-reliance which was so admirable in people everywhere. In homœopathy, although so far it had not made any very tremendous progress, they had something to respect because of its antiquity, and the work it had done in the curing of the human body. Homœopathy, strange to say, had been known to, and its principle cited by Hippocrates, and this principle had been found dotted about in our literature from that time to this - the principle of curing like by like. He dared say they all knew the apothegm, which said, "Take a hair of the dog that bit you by way of cuare." (Laughter.) Many thought that the recent precept referred solely to taking a drop of liquor in the morning after having had too much overnight. (Laughter.) But centuries ago it occurred in lines of Aristophanes, which, in English, ran somewhat in this style -


Take the hair, it well is written,

Of the dog by which you're bitten;

Work off one wine with its brother,

And one labour by another.




That was not the only thing that might be quoted from various works to show how impressed the principle had been on the people of all times and nations. But it was not till the time of Hahnemann, the eminent scientist of Germany, that homœopathy came to take the shape and form of to-day. Though he had not the distinction of being a homœopathist, nor much of an allopathist, or anything connected with medicine, he felt that in establishing an institution for curing by a method which had proved effectual in thousands of instances, they were participating in a great and good work - (Applause) - and he could only express his heartfelt hopes for the success and prosperity of the institution opened to-day. (Applause.) He acknowledged and expressed his appreciation of the admirable character of the arrangements made by the management for the reception of patients. The completeness of the equipment, the perfect cleanness of everything, and the comfort and brightness that characterised all, were deserving of the highest commendation, and he was glad to express his thanks for this which had been achieved so far, without any aid whatever from the Government. (Applause.)


Mr. Lake then offered up prayer.


The visitors were entertained at afternoon tea, the gift of Mr. C.D. Haywood, which was served in his usual good style, and largely added to the comfort of the visitors.


The addition to the funds on the occasion of the opening was close on £29, including the amount taken from the donation-box and cheques received from several sympathisers unable to be present, amongst which are the following: - Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Davis, Blendon, Warwick-street, £5; Mr. and Mrs. Cockayne, £2/2/ ; Mr. John Hay, Franklin, £1/1/ ; Mr. H.M. Steinbach, £1/1/ ; Mr. John Way, £1/1/ .


The following congratulatory telegram was received from Mr. F. Styant Browne, hon. secretary of the Northern centre of the Homœopathic Association: - "Hearty congratulations and best wishes from president and members of Northern centre."


Numerous apologies were received from persons unable to be present.



©   Barbara Armstrong