John Robinson’s tour of Griffith’s first ever hospital

Museums around the world tend to house samples, small extracts and replicas of items of great historical significance.

That’s not good enough for Pioneer Park Museum, which has transported the entire building of Griffith’s first ever hospital to its site; and has it open for public viewing. 

Griffith first hospital was opened in 1922. It was located on the site of the present Government Office Block on Banna Ave. 

The tiny building had 12 beds inside, plus 6 on the verandah and a basic operating theatre. 

This "temporary" hospital remained in use until 1931, when the present hospital opened on the official site in Noorebar Avenue.

In the second of our series on buildings at the museum, John Robinson, a volunteer at Pioneer Park, took us on a tour of the preserved first hospital facilities. 

“Inside the hospital we can see the old cast iron beds, a wheelchair, various instruments used, as well as the old nurses uniforms,” Mr Robinson said. 

One of the instruments on display was a large cystoscope, which was inserted in a patient’s urethra to carry out bladder inspections.

“Of particular interest though is a compression machine that was called ‘the iron lung’, during the polio epidemic people were kept in there to keep them alive,” Mr Robinson said. 

The Area News toured on a 40-degree day, when being inside the building was extremely unpleasant for the well, let alone the sick. 

“When it was really hot, patients had to be transported to the cool rooms at at Griffith Producers,” Mr Robinson said. 

The nearby Associated Nurses Quarters, which were used by hospital staff for rental accommodation up until 1977, have also been transported to the museum, and can also be viewed by visitors to the museum.  

Over the next few weeks, John Robinson will be showcasing some of the buildings at Pioneer Park Museum.

Griffith Pioneer Park Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the City of Griffith. It contains original buildings, machinery, vehicles, antiques and even Churches amongst our collections.

Griffith Pioneer Park Museum is open daily from 9.30am - 4pm.