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24 November 1840 First Adelaide Hospital

24 November 1840    First Adelaide Hospital

On 24 November 1840 Dr Litchfield, Chairman of the Board of the Adelaide Infirmary, announced that the building of the new hospital on Hackney Road was progressing rapidly and part of it would be ready for occupation before the end of the year. The first Adelaide Hospital had its beginnings through the efforts of Governor Gawler who approached the people of the city for donations and used government funds, at a time of financial troubles in the colony, to make up the difference in the estimated cost of £1200. The 24-bed hospital, designed by G.S. Kingston, was built a little to the north of Botanic Road, the foundation stone was laid by Gawler on 15 July 1840 and the hospital was opened officially on 15 February 1841. Patients were charged £2 2s per week, although destitute people were admitted free. However, patients (presumably those at least well enough) were expected to assist in cleaning the wards and possibly even work in the garden. The hospital, with some additions, served Adelaide until 1856-57 when the first buildings of the present Royal Adelaide Hospital were erected. The old hospital was used for a time as part of the Lunatic Asylum built nearby until that institution was moved to Parkside, after which it was used for infectious diseases; t was demolished in 1938.

G.L. Fischer, ‘Flour and Philanthropy: Some Notes on the First Adelaide Hospital’,
S.A. Clinics: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Volume 1, February 1961, No 1 pp.8-9.

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