Nurses Capes

Historically, nurse’s capes were both symbolic as well as practical.  They were a standard part of a nurse’s uniform and although mainly worn in winter months, they allowed the nurse to move freely and keep uniforms clean underneath.  Royal Adelaide Hospital Registered Nurse’s (known as either a Charge Nurse or Sister) at the Adelaide Hospital, […]

Adelaide Hospital Table Tennis Team

It was common for hospital staff to compete in sport teams under the (Royal) Adelaide Hospital name. In 1928 this included a table tennis team. Table Tennis came to Australia in the late 19th Century and was commonly known by the name Ping Pong. The photograph below shows the Adelaide Hospital table tennis team from […]

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 […]

Plaster Away

The setting of broken bones using Plaster of Paris is a common practice at Central Adelaide Local Health Network hospitals.  Immobilizing broken limbs has occurred for thousands of years. Beginning with simple wooden splints, evolving over the centuries to plaster of Paris, fibre glass and soft casts. Plaster of Paris was first used in casts […]

Fresh Air and Sunshine

There is nothing quite like the simple joys of getting some fresh air and sunshine. I think many of us can appreciate the benefits that spending time outdoors has on how we feel. These benefits have long been recognised in the health setting too. The CALHN Health Museum holds many photographs dating from the early […]

Celebrating Allied Health Professions Day

October the 14th is International Allied Health Professions Day. To help celebrate International Allied Health Professions Day, below are five items from the CALHN Health Museum collection that relate to some of these professions. The Allied Health Professions are made up of health professionals that are not part of the medical, nursing or dental professions. […]

Skeleton in the Closet

Do you have a skeleton in the closet? We do! Meet our fine friend George. George is a little bit shy, so let us introduce him. In days gone by, nursing education was conducted in the hospital rather than a tertiary institution. The former Royal Adelaide Hospital trained nurses in theory and practice for over […]

A Colourful History

A huge shout out to Kelly Bonito from A Colourful History for bringing the “Adelaide Hospital Infectious Diseases Block” alive. In Kelly’s words “Bringing the world of the old to life by colourising old photos”. Please go and check out her wonderful Facebook page, where beautiful black and white photographs are revitalised with colour! The […]


In 2020 the CALHN Health Museum received an interesting piece of South Australian history. A Gopher! The mobility scooter was made by Grant Telfer, who is perhaps best known as the creator of the iconic Monash playground in the Riverland. Telfer was the first to use the gopher name in association with mobility scooters with […]

We Remember – Queen Elizabeth II

As we prepare to say a final farewell to our monarch, we share with you some of our memories of her early visits to South Australia. The Adelaide Hospital was granted its “Royal” prefix in 1939 by His Majesty the King, George VI. In 1954 his daughter and successor, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II paid […]

Oh, the Delphiniums at Adelaide Hospital!

At the beginning of the twentieth Century, the gardens of the Adelaide Hospital (North Terrace) were one of its most outstanding features. The attractive gardens occupied the frontage of North Terrace, however they slowly disappeared as the various new buildings were erected. t There was a wide expanse of well-kept lawns with flower beds and […]

History Mystery. Can you solve our Coat of Arms conundrum?

The origin and meaning of Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre’s Coat of Arms has baffled us for some time. Historical Background Facing Hampstead Road, our heritage listed building has proudly displayed the Coat of Arms since the hospital was opened in 1932 as the Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital, Northfield. At that time, the hospital was controlled by […]

The Ghostly Guardian – The Grey Nurse

Ghost stories are common within the hospital setting. In fact the Grey Nurse, the resident spectre of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site, shares her name and similar characteristics with many hospital ghosts around the world. In most stories, the Grey Nurse is a benevolent force, providing assistance to patients and helping out the […]