Hello, Switch!

If you have ever had reason to call the Hospital, you would likely have first been greeted by staff in the switchboard. While now the switchboard are able to transfer calls using computerised technology, originally it was a manual operation. Constance Wright and Con Gray were two long time switchboard operators beginning in the late […]

Second World War Tea Rationing

“those who refuse to give up coupons, will not be allowed to have tea!” Royal Adelaide Board Minutes, 22 July 1942 It was common during the Second World War, for there to be shortages and restrictions on certain household items and foodstuffs. Tea, which was an imported good, was particularly disrupted due to ships being […]

A Visit to the Hospital in 1878

Ever wondered what being a patient at a South Australian hospital was like over 140 years ago? Fortunately, we can get a glimpse of this experience from an account that appeared in the Adelaide Observer newspaper on the 28th December 1878. The writer, who gives his name as only ‘A Casual Patient’, describes himself as […]

Vale Dr Harry

Doctor Richard (Harry) Burnell, 1936-2021 Last month, Adelaide lost one of its veteran medical devotees. Dr Harry, as he liked to be called, served the children of South Australia throughout his career spanning several decades. Dr Harry grew up in Adelaide, attending St Peter’s College, and graduating from the Adelaide University Medical School in 1959. […]

The Two Towers of St Margaret’s Hospital

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit St Margaret’s Hospital. A former convalescent (and later rehabilitation) hospital in the seaside suburb of Semaphore. Thanks to my fantastic guide, I was given a tour of the site that gave me a small insight into the history of St Margaret’s. St Margaret’s was built as a convalescent […]

Dox Denture Grinder

The Dox Denture Grinder was invented in 1933 by Hurtle Thomas Jack Edwards. Born in 1897, Edwards was one of six, who were the first graduates of the University of Adelaide Dental school in 1923. He was Honorary Dental Surgeon at Royal Adelaide Hospital from 1924 to 1948 and Lecturer at University of Adelaide from […]

South Australian Boer War Nurses

“Yes, war is a cruel thing indeed” “It is wonderful how the patient never murmur.  Those who have had a leg or arm amputated, or who have even lost their sight, are quite patient.  Poor fellows, they say it is for a good cause.  Such a lot of nice men have died here.” Mary O’Shanahan, […]

Remembrance Day

On Remembrance Day, the CALHN Health Museum in partnership with Spiritual Care Services and the RAH Volunteer Unit, honoured and remembered staff members of our hospitals that have served in the Australian Defence Force. At the Royal Adelaide Hospital there were displays of historical objects and stories, along with handmade poppies for sale. All money […]

Quarantined! A Visit to Torrens Island

CALHN Health Museum staff recently popped “hand sanny” in our bags and visited the Torrens Island Quarantine Station thanks to the SA Maritime Museum. Nursing and medical staff from the former Royal Adelaide Hospital worked at the quarantine station, so it was an interesting research trip, especially in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic. From […]

A Grand Staircase

The staircase is part of the Margaret Graham Building, opened in 1911 and services all levels of the building from the basement to the top floor. The fret work on the staircase spells out SOS and the middle of the ‘O’, a Maltese Cross.

Bath Time at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Fancy a bath? This week we take a look at the bathrooms at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The main building’s of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital were built in stages from 1954 to 1959. They included all the modern amenities that the 1950s could offer, such as; personal telephones for patients, central heating and a silent […]