Blog

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’

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 Young Cotter, the first colonial […]

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 8th November, we take a look at the major types of Medical Imaging utilised in South Australia 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 radiation […]

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 […]

Nursing Uniforms Then and Now

Nursing as a profession, has one of the most recognised uniforms. When using the word ‘Nurse’ you often think of the traditional white uniform, cape, hat and apron. Traditional nursing uniforms had a multitude of purposes, including identifying the hospital, rank, seniority, and promoting formality, respect, and training. At the Royal Adelaide Hospital, standardised uniforms […]

The Humble Laundry Trolley

On recent reorganisation of the museum collection, many interesting items have been rediscovered. One such item is the humble laundry trolley – essential equipment for the necessary hospital laundry service. The hospital laundry, otherwise known as the washhouse, was responsible for the collection, cleaning, and disinfection of dirty linens, as well as the replacement of […]

Hospitals from Above

Hospital’s can be big. The Royal Adelaide Hospital for example covers the equivalent of three city blocks. It can often be hard to visualise the scale of hospitals when we are looking at them from street level. Adding to this is the jumble of different buildings, that many hospitals are made up of. Fortunately the […]

Ether at the Adelaide Hospital

“Anyone who is even remotely connected with the practice of medicine knows that modern surgery depends to a great extent on the availability of adequate anaesthesia” J Estcourt Hughes, A History of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, 1982 Ether was first used for surgical operations at Adelaide Hospital in 1847, marking the introduction of general anesthesia. […]

World Physiotherapy Day

World Physiotherapy Day (also known as World Physical Therapy Day) is celebrated every year on 8th September in recognition of the crucial work of physiotherapists worldwide. Physiotherapy is defined as the treatment of injury and disease by means other than medication or surgery, with the aim to improve or restore the patient’s movement, function, and […]

Rediscovering Objects in the Collection

The CALHN Health Museum has been doing some spring cleaning (or more accurately late winter cleaning), of our large item store room. My colleague Jasmin and some of our amazing volunteers, have done an excellent job in organizing this area. It has meant we have been more easily able to access some of our collection […]

Wheelchairs

The wheelchair has been used for centuries as a mobility aid for individuals with injury, illness, and disability. In the hospital environment, wheelchairs continue to be an essential part of patient care, although their design and mode of use has changed over time. The design of wheelchair we are familiar with today was developed from […]