Friday 14 February 2014

Campbelltown Hospital Opening

Campbelltown Library was recently sent the above photograph from a previous employee who believed it might be the Campbelltown Hospital. The photograph shows a parachutist about to land on a nearby field. We were able to confirm that it is the hospital and determine that it was taken on the opening day.
The first stage of Campbelltown Hospital was officially opened by Premiere Neville Wran on the 1st of October 1977. In attendance , according to the local newspaper, were a crowd of ‘1500 deeply interested people.’

Mr Wran paid tribute to Gough Whitlam who had in 1974, shamed the State government into keeping an election promise to build the hospital. Earlier Mr Whitlam said ‘although the areas to the south and west were referred to as suburbs, people did not realise how much they were entitled to have the facilities that any capital city would have.’

The Mayor Gordon Fetterplace said ‘no less than four governments had been involved in the project and Cliff Mallam paid tribute to the Campbelltown Auxiliary for the sum of $30,000 it had fund raised over 24 years.

Using a ‘fast tracking system’ of construction the hospital came in under budget at $9.8 million instead of 11. Fast tracking it was explained, ‘allows the construction of the outer shell first’ while detailed interior planning continues.

Mr Mallam’s speech also made a plea to consider incorporating a helipad as recently it took five hours for an ambulance to reach one of the area’s coal mines.

Our hospital began with 120 beds, staffed by 126 nursing personnel,  seven doctors and 21 paramedical officers greatly reducing the strain on Camden and Liverpool hospitals.

References: Campbelltown – A modern History Jeff McGill

The Macarthur Advertiser Oct 5 1977 p1,13/ Sep 28 p3

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