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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

World Physiotherapy Day

World Physiotherapy Day (also known as World Physical Therapy Day) is celebrated every year on the 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, […]

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 the wheelchair we are familiar with today was developed […]