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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 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 […]

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. […]

CALHN Health Museum Volunteers

On 1 August, our volunteers joined the Central Adelaide Local Health Network Volunteers to recognise their fantastic contributions to our organisation and community. This year’s 2023 Reward and Recognition luncheon was held at the National Wine Centre of Australia. Our volunteers joined over 200 volunteers from multiple departments within the Central Adelaide Local Health Network. […]

Coombs Ward – Make Do and Mend

What do you do when you merge two wards together and now have a surplus of linen stamped with an obsolete name? This was a problem faced by the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1945. When the Magill Wards of the Royal Adelaide Hospital were established in 1939 (at Magill) there was one large ward/block that […]

In the Swim

The Annual Inter-Hospital Swimming Carnival for Nurses was held from 1954 to 1963 at the Adelaide Olympic Pool. The event was open to both public and private hospitals and was very popular. A major drawcard were the novelty events: ‘Get there as best you can’ swim race; Nurses Bathing Beauty Contest; Balloon swimming race; ‘Flappers […]

International Women’s Day – Nancy Atkinson

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. This is the theme for today, this year’s International Women’s Day. It’s a day devoted to honouring the achievements of women throughout history. The day is celebrated […]

Raising the Roof

Slate roof tile from the Adelaide Hospital Gatehouse The Adelaide Hospital Gatehouse was completed in early 1860’s, along with the perimeter wall and gates. Constructed from Glen Osmond stone, with a slate roof. Glen Osmond bluestone was a hard, greenish grey fine-grained sandstone. As a roof material, slate was ideal material for rooves due to […]

Masterclass: Conservation for Non-Conservators

The Health Museum’s staff recently refreshed their skills in the preventative conservation of collection objects in the beautiful setting of the Mortlock Library, Adelaide. Part of the day included hands on practice making mounts to display museum photographs, books, and artwork. Japanese tissue paper was used to make corners for artwork and photographs to keep […]

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, […]

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 […]