New Ground Broken

Part 3: 1960s Hospital Redevelopment Following World War II, Adelaide experienced a significant population boom and an influx of migrants. This surge placed considerable demand and strain on the Royal Adelaide Hospital, its services, and staff. The need for redevelopment of the hospital site was first discussed in the 1950s. At that time, the hospital […]

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 […]

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 […]

World Radiography Day

In celebration of World Radiography Day on the 8th November, we take a look at the major types of Medical Imaging utilised in South Australian 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Happy Snaps and the Hospital Plans

Recently the CALHN Health Museum collaborated with The Hospital Research Foundation – Creative Health to produce an exhibition titled The Happy Snaps and the Hospital Plans as part of South Australia’s History Festival 2023. On display in the Creative Health Gallery at Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre is a two part exhibition showcasing some of the CALHN […]