The Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital was established on 7th October 1932 by the South Australian Government, to take over from the overcrowded Infectious Diseases Block at the Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace. The new hospital was designed to care for and accommodate patients with infectious diseases such as polio, scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria. The hospital was an autonomous organisation controlled by its own Board of Management and its finance was maintained solely by the contributions of local councils.
Ronald Norman Hammant, J.P., served on the Board of Management at the time the new Infectious Diseases Hospital was established in the position of Secretary. At the same time, he was also Secretary to the Lord Mayor of the Adelaide City Council.
Hammant, Ronald Norman, J.P. (Secretary)
DATE OF BIRTH
Ronald Norman Hammant was born on 11th May 1902 in Prospect, South Australia. At the time of his birth, his father, Harry Hammant, was 41 and his mother, Matilda (nee Knox), was 35. He had one older brother, Thomas Eric Hammant.
Ronald attended North Adelaide Primary School, then commercial classes at Adelaide High School, before leaving school at the age of 16 to work in the office of the newly appointed Railway Enquiry Commissioner.
Ronald Norman Hammant married Elizabeth May Davis (Bessie) on Saturday 15th October 1927, at the Trinity Church, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia. There is no record of Ronald and his wife having any children.
WORK HISTORY & DATES
R.N. Hammant’s first job after leaving school was in the office of the Railway Enquiry Commissioner as an administrative assistant, followed by a job as a junior clerk in the Controller of Accounts Department, South Australian Railways. In 1926 he moved to a new position with the Adelaide City Council, assisting the Chief Clerk and Secretary to the Lord Mayor, Mr Arthur Dimond. He took over the role of Mr Dimond as Secretary to the Lord Mayor, and worked with the Council, serving under fourteen Lord Mayors, until his retirement on 5th January 1968.
During his many years as Secretary to the Lord Mayor with the Adelaide City Council, Mr Ron Hammant was witness to several significant historical events and visitors, including their Excellencies the Governor-General and Lady Stonehaven during his first week of his new job.
On the 30th April 1927, the Duke and Duchess of York (who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) visited Adelaide, and Mr Hammant was involved with organising a huge ball at the Exhibition Building in their honour, with over 3000 guests in attendance.
In an interview in November 1972, he recalled that:
it was a most brilliant and inspiring ball. The huge building was transformed into an old English garden with terraces filled with beautiful flowers. There was no stage; in its place stood a garden with a huge fountain throwing up a cloud of crystal water. A large dais was erected on the northern side of the hall opposite the main entrance, and I had a clear view of the whole of the proceedings. His Excellency, the Governor, and Lady Bridges had arrived at the front entrance and were met by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and the royal couple were soon to follow.
Other significant events that Mr Ron Hammant was instrumental in organising included visits from the British Flying Boat crew in 1928, also Mr Bert Hinkler, the famous aviator in 1928, Miss Amy Johnson (aviatrix) in June 1930, and later Miss Helen Keller, with her companion Miss Polly Thompson, in June 1948.
In the recorded for the J.D Somerville Oral History collection (State Library of South Australia, OH 561/16: Full transcript of an interview with RON N. HAMMANT, 5 November 1972 by Richard Freney) Mr Hammant described the reception given to Field Marshall Lord Montgomery, when thousands of people poured into the city to see him walk from Government House to the Town Hall.
Hammant enlisted with the Air Force in November 1940, and after his initial training, he worked as Personal Assistant to Air Vice-Marshall Anderson, the RAAF Air Member for Organisation and Equipment.
His RAAF Service Number during WW2 was 282010.
DATE & PLACE OF DEATH
Hammant died in Eden Hills on 23rd September 1977, age 77 years. He was cremated and interred at Centennial Park, Pasadena, South Australia.
More Information about the Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital can be found here:
Written by Karyn Baker, CALHN Health Museum Volunteer