This week we take a look at an essential piece of medical equipment, the microscope. The microscope is defined as an instrument used to examine anything which is difficult to see by the naked eye. Various types of contraptions designed for this magnifying purpose have been present for thousands of years, however the microscope design […]

New Ground Broken

Part 3: 1960s Hospital Redevelopment Following World War II, Adelaide experienced a significant population boom and an influx of migrants. This surge placed considerable demand and strain on the Royal Adelaide Hospital, its services, and staff. The need for redevelopment of the hospital site was first discussed in the 1950s. At that time, the hospital […]

On Fire

This fire mimic panel call board, dating from 1938, was in use at the Royal Adelaide Hospital until 1987. The panel is divided into sections, each representing a ward or area. As the names of wards and buildings changed, new labels were stuck over the original ones. In the case of a fire alarm, a […]

Adelaide Hospital Gets Its Crown

Part 3: 1857 – 1963 In 1853, the site for the new hospital was chosen, just a few hundred metres west of where the existing hospital stood. This move would mark the beginning of a 160-year history with the site, as the new hospital would stand where the old Royal Adelaide Hospital as we knew […]

Shining a Light

‘Shining a Light’ on Operating Theatre Lights – Exploring the Royal Adelaide Hospital Operating Theatre Lights held in the museum collection. Several bulky wrapped ‘lumps’ of different sizes lie in our storage room. On closer inspection, the ‘lumps’ reveal themselves to be large, circular surgical lights. These lights have been rescued from operating theatres that have long been demolished, […]

Mary McFarlane

This Thursday, 25 April 2024, is Anzac Day. The day holds great national importance, marking the first significant military operation fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. While perusing our catalogue of war photographs, one image of Mary McFarlane stood out. This photograph hails from a pre-internet era, a time […]

In The Bag

Doctor’s bags have been used for centuries to transport medical equipment, medicine, and supplies on home visits and across hospital wards alike. Used primarily by physicians, but also by nurses and other professional medical staff, they were traditionally made of leather with a top handle opening into two sections, like the Gladstone bag. Cases, as […]

The Colonial Infirmary – Adelaide’s First ‘Hospital’

Part 1: 1837 – 1840 South Australia was established as a free settler colony, one which could be self-sufficient from the British crown, however, in the high number of settlers, there was little to no thought of including doctors and trained medical professionals. The new settlement was proclaimed on 28 December 1836 and Dr Thomas […]

Get a Grip – Wooden Prosthetic Hand

Prosthetic limbs have evolved significantly over the years. From 3D-printed prosthetics to mind-controlled ones, the advancements in this field are remarkable. Today’s featured object dates back to the early 1900s. Despite its simpler design, it showcases the exceptional craftsmanship of that era. The wooden articulated prosthetic hand is made from blonde wood, possibly beech, birch, […]

Prawns, Pavlova and the Pneumatic Tube System

When the current Royal Adelaide Hospital building was constructed, it was fitted with a state of the art Pneumatic Tube System (PTS). This system included more than 3km of tubing connecting 74 different stations. A PTS is a network of tubing which allows cylindrical containers carrying small pathology and pharmacy items to be quickly and […]

World Radiography Day

In celebration of World Radiography Day on the 8th November, we take a look at the major types of Medical Imaging utilised in South Australian hospitals. Radiography is defined as the use of imaging techniques to view the internal body for diagnosis or therapy. Perhaps the most common imaging is the X-ray which uses electromagnetic […]

The Desk with a Secret

This rather ordinary looking desk at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital holds a secret. All you have to do is pull the desk drawer open, and all its secrets are revealed… On the base of the inside of the desk drawer are the scrawled messages of trainee nurses from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. They range in […]

RAH Ward Changes in Pictures

Take a visual journey through the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s (RAH) ward changes since 1841! Discover below how the hospital wards have evolved over the years with fascinating pictures that showcase the history and transformation of its wards. First Adelaide Hospital When the Royal Adelaide Hospital opened its doors to patients in 1841, the first purpose-built […]

Nursing Education and Ayers House

From the 1950s to the 1970s Royal Adelaide Hospital student nurses attended Preliminary Training School (PTS) in Ayers House. Many students also lived in Ayers House and nearby buildings known as the annexes. Below are some memories from nurses that experienced this period of nursing training. Sister Kennedy was our tutor and she was fresh […]