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Historical Overview


Timeline: History of the Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay

Prince Henry Hospital was initially the Coast Hospital (1881 - 1936) becoming Prince Henry Hospital (1936 - 2003)

Date Event
1881
The Coast Hospital was established to deal with a growing epidemic of Smallpox in Sydney. The site at Little Bay was chosen because of it’s isolation from the population of the city.
1881
In July the Horse Ambulance was established upon the outbreak of Smallpox, and disbanded in February/March 1882 once the outbreak was declared over.
1883
The Coast Hospital was converted to a convalescent hospital for patients from the metropolitan hospitals in Sydney. As it was no longer a part of the quarantine services of Sydney the management of the property was transferred to the Colonial Secretary’s Department.
1884
Dr. Bradley Viollette appointed as the Coast Superintendent.
1886
The Coast Hospital’s first general anaesthetic given. Chloroform was first used as general anaesthetic by James Simpson in 1847.
1888
The Coast Hospital became a “fever hospital”, treating diseases such as diptheria; tuberculosis; small pox; measles and scarlet fever.
1890

Water and sewerage services installed and a new Lazaret opened to accommodate patients suffering from Leprosy who were kept isolated from the general hospital population.

1898
The Clock Tower was constructed.
1900

An outbreak of Bubonic plague occurred in Sydney. [Rat Catchers] [Rats]

1901
In December a steam tram started running out to the hospital.
1905
In August an electric tram replaced the steam service to the Coast hospital.
1910
Chloroform was replaced by Kelene (ethyl chloride) and ether for anaesthesias.
1910
Trial conducted at The Coast Hospital on the use of Compound 606 (arsephenamine, discovered by Paul Ehrlich and Sahachiro Hata, commonly known as Salvarsan) in the treatment of Syphilis conducted with great success.
1912
On the 5th February electric lighting was used for the first time at the Coast.
1919
The Swine Influenza Pandemic, which had been sweeping, the world reached Sydney.
1921
An outbreak of the Plague began in Sydney and patients were isolated at the Coast for treatment.
1927
The association between The Coast Hospital and The Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick began.
1931

On 2nd April 1931 the MV Malabar violently struck the headland at Long Bay south of Sydney. There was no loss of life. An estimated 300, 000 people came to witness the wreck over the weekend, many to recover cargo strewn widely around the bay. [source:The Sydney Morning Herald] [photo] [photo]

1934
The Coast Hospital renamed "The Prince Henry Hospital of Sydney".  This was done by the Minister for Health for NSW at the time, Mr R W D Weaver to compliment the visit of the Duke of Gloucester.
1934-35

Major building works were undertaken at the new Prince Henry Hospital of Sydney to increase the capacity of the hospital to 1,000 beds.  This included construction of a new operating block, two three-storey ward blocks (A & B blocks) a new three-storey infectious diseases block which was partly funded by the Commonwealth.  In addition a new operating block and new kitchens were constructed during this time.

1935
NSW Postgraduate Committee in Medicine was formed under the patronage of the University of Sydney. 
1935
In Spetember the Hugh and Catherine McIlrath Department of Pathology was opened in a new building which was constructed on the site of the old cottages 2 & 3.  This new building was possible due to the generous donations of the McIlrath family.
1935

In October the new nurse's accommodation was opened and called the Matron Dickson Home.

1936

Prince Henry Hospital Act 1936 was passed on August 1st.  The Act altered the control of the hospital to the NSW Hospitals Commission and required a Board of Directors to be appointed to encourage postgraduate teaching and research.  This fulfulled the need for a postgraduate teaching hospital created by the NSW Postgraduate Committee in Medicine.

"The Board consisted of fifteen members, one from the Hospitals Commission (not a doctor), two appointed on the nomination of the Senate of the University of Sydney, one by the Coundil of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, one by the New South Wales Postgraduate Committee in Medicine of the Univeristy of Sydney, and eight members appointed by the Minister, none of whom was to be a member of the medical profession.  This provision was also to hold for the chairman of the board."  ("A Coast Chronicle: The History of the Prince Henry Hospital" Clement R Boughton, 1981 pg 66)

1937
The Hospital produced its 1st Annual Report, June 30th.
1941
The 120th (Special) General Hospital was constructed on the old Coast site.
1942
The Postgraduate Committee in Medicine was closed "for the duration of the war only".  Unsuccessful attempts to restart the project took place at the end of the war.
1946
Establishment of The Institute of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine.  This institute investigated the incidence of Coxsackie (after New York town where it was first discovered in 1948) virus (aseptic meningitis), Poliomyelitis virus and was the first to isolate REO virus.
1956
The Matron E McNevin Home was opened for nurses accommodation.  This six storey building had 200 single rooms, a swimming pool, tennis court and golf course.
1958
New South Wales University of Technology at Kensington was converted to a full university and renamed University of New South Wales.
1959
The Prince Henry Hospital Act was repealed by Premier J. Cahill and the Public Hospitals Act was amended to include PHH as a Second Schedule Hospital.  The Board was then required to focus on undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Medicine in conjunction with University of NSW and University of Sydney.
1962

Artificial respiration unit for poliomyelitis patients built, later this became the first Intensive Care Unit.

1962
Renal Unit opened.
1963
The Prince Henry Hospital and The Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick are brought under one board, allowing the Hospitals to operate as a single unit.
1965
First kidney transplant in NSW performed.
1970
On July 1st, the management of three Hospitals, the Prince Henry, The Prince of Wales and Eastern Suburbs (which ceased operating in 1980), was the precursor of what was to become Eastern Sydney Area Health Service (ESAHS).
1974
The fleet of motor vehicles was replaced and increased.
1977
Department of Psychiatry extended services to The Prince of Wales Hospital in the Catherine Hayes building.
1996
In May, the Stroke Unit moved from the Delaney Building to Level 1 of the new Dickinson building. In July, the Emergency Department also relocated to the Randwick campus. In October, the Gastroenterology Wards relocated to Dickinson Level 2.
1997
Intensive Care amalgamated with ICU on Parkes 3, moving to Dickinson 1 South in December. Cardiology Ward and the Coronary Care Unit relocated in November.
1998
Prince Henry's Echolab and the Cardiothoracic Surgery Service relocated in January.
March 1998
The Premier of NSW, the Hon. Bob Carr, announced the establishment of a new Centre of Excellence for Aged Care and Rehabilitation on the Prince Henry site.
2001
Services at The Prince Henry Hospital are transferred to the Randwick campus. Landcom to develop 34 of the total 85 hectares of the Prince Henry site. This would include aged care facilities for 267 residents, accommodation for existing community groups, a small retail/commercial area, a medical centre and 800 assorted homes.
2003
Demolition of Nurses quarters begins.
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