1914 Financial Solutions – Mr N P Nielsen

Excerpt from the Healing Saint by Lindsay Ritchie

In January, 1914, tragedy struck the life of the hospital’s hardworking treasurer, Alex Louden. His three children died in a drowning accident at Cronulla Beach and he sought leave from his Honorary position for the remaining term of his office. N P Nielsen readily stepped into the breach and set about rectifying the hospital’s dwindling cash flow. How he did it had all the hallmarks of a master entrepreneur.

Somehow he enticed a Sydney business house to loan the hospital a modern Regal gramophone and some forty-odd records. Concerts were held on the verandahs with visitors not only paying to see the patients but also to listen to the records. It was a masterstroke and people flocked to the hospital, irrespective if a relative or friend was a patient. Within a short period the gramophone company let the machine stay with the hospital due to the sales it generated.

Led by Mrs Crane and Mrs Nielsen, the various ladies’ committees doubled their efforts and gramophone parties became all the rage. Even the younger people joined in and the formerly-ostracised Audrey Griffin led the rash of young trend-setters holding gramophone beach parties. Contributions doubled, then trebled by the end of 1914 and the hospital was, for a while, fairly solvent.

Nielsen, to all intents and purposes, left no stone unturned in his search for ready cash. He inserted and advertisement in the Call newspaper, renting the hospital’s bottom paddock for cow pasture, then when he had sufficient cows, employed a Mr Keep as “Professional Cow Attendant” and thus obtained freshly-separated milk for the hospital, free of charge. He was truly a remarkable man.