The “Repat”

Visit to the Reactivated Repat

This week our museum workers visited the Repat Health Precinct, Daw Park.

Established in 1942 as a military hospital, it has undergone several rebirths over its 80-year history and is fondly remembered as the Repatriation General Hospital, or the ‘Repat’, for returned war veterans and their families.  Most recently the site was reactivated to include specialist dementia units, medical imaging, rehabilitation services, orthotics and prosthetics clinics, and neuro-behavioural services. It is a fascinating blend of old and new, honouring the site’s connection to our veteran community.

Our tour of the ‘Repat’ took in the new Veterans’ Memorial Trail, buildings of historical interest, and the Repat Museum.

The Veteran’s Memorial Trail includes information and reflection on our veterans’ service in conflict zones and highlights the stories of some of those individuals. Especially poignant for me personally, was the small “lone pine” growing in the courtyard. The seeds were generated from the original “lonesome pine” at Gallipoli where some of my ancestors fought, died and remain today. The trail is open to the public.

Another highlight was a special viewing of a stained-glass window from the former Royal Adelaide Hospital Chapel. The Health Museum cared for this object, when the hospital closed in 2017, until a suitable home was found in the Rehabilitation Wards of the Repat earlier this year. Seeing it illuminated in its new home reminded us of why we do what we do. We were thrilled to pass on this superb peace of South Australia’s heritage for future generations to enjoy. Nearby is the Repat’s Chapel. If you are a fan of stained glass, my tip is don’t miss it. I’ll leave you to discover what is special about the seating arrangements.

Lastly, we toured the Repat Museum. If Australian military history interests you, you will want to visit this museum! They have an extensive collection of artefacts and memorabilia, as well as objects from the Repat’s own history. The volunteer guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. Many of us agreed that we need to go back there another day as there was so much to see.  The day finished at the precinct’s café, ViTA.

Written by Jacquelyne Ladner, CALHN Health Museum