Teashop in Esperance was once the Wellard Hospital

Wellard Hospital – it was realised early in the 1920s that there was a need for a local hospital for the growing town of Wellard, particularly for maternity facilities as there was nothing else available on the Peel Estate. The Anglican minister at Wellard, the Reverend Sherwin, campaigned with the Department of Health and received much community support. To raise the necessary funds which were initially estimated at £1,000, a fundraising committee was elected, horse races were held and wage earners were levied for contributions. The eventual cost of the hospital was closer to £4,000. There was a suggestion that the hospital be named after Reverend Sherwin but it became known instead as the Wellard Hospital. There is a plaque commemorating the hospital in Wellard at Shipwright Avenue which reads “Wellard Hospital – officially opened on 1st February 1926, the three-ward Wellard Hospital was established to provide medical services to the population. The town site was established in the early 1920’s as part of the WWI Soldier and Group Settlement schemes. The town site flourished briefly and declined rapidly as a result of the depression and farm failures. In common with the decline of the town site the hospital was closed in 1930 and was relocated to Esperance in 1931. During its brief period of operation the hospital had cared for 225 recorded patients”. There is another plaque on the Rockingham Waterfront Pioneer Rotary Walk which reads “The hospital was opened on 1st February 1926. The Government provided £3,399 and settlers provided £431 for equipment. Three water tanks were manually filled. The first doctor was Dr Day-Lewis. Most cases were maternity, but cases were falling, and in 1931 the building was relocated to Esperance and used as nurses’ quarters, a seaside home and then a restaurant.”

One thought on “Teashop in Esperance was once the Wellard Hospital

  1. I thought you might be interested to learn that, on new Years Eve 1931 my Grandmother (Marion Edwards) underwent an urgent operation one night in the Esperance Hospital for Ptomaine poisoning. As the hospital only had kerosine hurricane lamps for lighting at that time, it was necessary for three private cars to face the windows of the operating theatre so that their headlights could shine in and provide the lighting necessary for the surgeon (Dr. Bill Muir).
    It would appear that the incident was what stung the Hospital into action to raise the funds to get the Hospital powered electrically. That happened in Feb 1932 and installation finished in June. £150 English Lister Power plant.
    I understand that the incident was written up in medical journals of the time.

    Darryl Kelly

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