Thursday, 19 October 2017

General Private Hospitals in Early Townsville

Something quite interesting to come out of my research at the moment is just how many Townsville women in the early 1900s were setting up their own general private hospital - not just a lying-in hospital in their own home, but a general private hospital. 

It's always seemed as if the general consensus was that the doctors set up these hospitals and then employed nurses to manage and run them. What I am finding is that many of these women, who I assumed were just managing the place for a doctor, actually OWNED the private hospital. In some instances they purchased, or even had the property built, for that purpose. 

A few examples include: Mai Treacy, who purchased the 'Nestle' hospital in Fryer Street and renamed it the 'Lister'; Margaret Monaghan (pictured) who ran 'Tauntonia' Private Hospital in Walker Street; Madge Clements, who secured a property on Melton Hill to set up 'Ardlamont' Private Hospital; and Eva Duman, who purchased a property with her sister Gladys to run 'Verwood' Private Hospital, in Hermit Park. 

The local doctors did attend patients/perform surgeries etc. at these hospitals, but they were not running them. This is exciting stuff for an historian!

This research is part of a book I am working on that will tell the remarkable stories of North Queensland's independent/private midwives who worked tirelessly in our communities between 1890 and 1940.