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Eudunda Hospital – The Quiet Sixties and Seventies Outreach and Expansion

(Next instalment of the history of Eudunda Hospital prior to the Centenary celebrations to be held on the 9th Oct 2022.)

Eudunda Hospital 1963
Eudunda Hospital 1963 – Back: M. Nietschke, Matron Leslie, B. Radley, A. Menzel, B. Hansen,
Front: K. Wittwer, K. Coe, M. Neill, M. Rutschack (1963).

The sixties were the quiet years with the work of caring for the sick and needy provided with dedicated care by doctors and nursing staff.

Mr. Eddie Handke was chairman of the Board and congratulated Dr. Bowering, Matron Leslie, the nursing staff and domestics on running a very pleasant and efficient Hospital, together with the support of the Ladies Auxiliary and the excellent work of handyman Mr. Bert Aeschse.

Eudunda Hospital - Bert Aesche Gardener 1962
Eudunda Hospital – Bert Aesche Gardener 1962

A new ambulance was purchased and installed with a mobile radio, which necessitated an antennae and base station to be erected at the Hospital. Maxine and Laurie Grope both had a long association with St. John Ambulance. As a consequence, Mrs. Grope was bestowed the honour of ‘Serving Sister to the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem’, and this was sanctioned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second, as from November 16th 1966.

By 1965, the hospital improvements included the addition of a sunroom and waiting room, enlarging the kitchen and modernising the hospital entrance. New changes were made for all wards including theatre and labour wards, nursing staff quarters and a new midwifery ward which was completed at the close of 1970.

Eudunda Hospital - Nurses in front Garden - 1965
Eudunda Hospital – Margaret Wright, Betty Ruediger, Barbara Teague, Matron Leslie, Ann Selth in front Garden – 1965

Having progressed steadily for a decade, the quiet years were over, but the Hospital was now ready for the outreach and expansion phase.

In all the changes and improvements, unseen and often forgotten, Joseph Levi Lampard still played his part for without his legacy to the Hospital, much of this work could not have been achieved.

By the seventies, the hospital cows and separator were replaced with adequate milk supply in bulk cartons; the fowls suffered the same fate and by 1974, the chooks were sold and the run dismantled. With the advent of oil heating, followed by air-conditioning, mallee stumps were no required and another chore came to an end.

In 1970 the completed St. John Ambulance Centre was opened by His Excellency Major General Sir J. Harrison.

Eudunda Hospital - Matron Leslie - 1963
Eudunda Hospital – Matron Leslie – 1963

The dedicated Matron Leslie was thanked by the Board for her years of excellent work with her departure in 1975; she was replaced by Matron Lyn Williams.

Eudunda Hospital - Jenny Schutz, Pat Schutz - 1975
Eudunda Hospital – Jenny Schutz, Pat Schutz – 1975

Meals on Wheels began in 1975 with food being prepared in the Hospital kitchen.

In 1975, the foundation stone which had originally been laid in the old theatre complex by C.A. Pfeiffer, was relocated to the garden. The new theatre and other renovations and extensions were officially opened in 1976.

Eudunda Hospital - Nurses pose with Joseph Levi Lampard Memorial - 1979
Eudunda Hospital – Pat Hansen, Stacey Lipschinski, Sue McCann, Sharyn Materne, Judi Reimann pose at the Joseph Levi Lampard Memorial – 1979

The official opening of the Eudunda Senior Citizen’s Hostel was on 14th October 1979, after years of planning by the Board, and construction by C.O Juncken of Nuriootpa.

Eudunda Hospital Centenary Committee acknowledge and thank Jenny Schutz for permission to use excerpts from her mother’s book “The Light on the Hill – by Wynnis J. Ruediger” for the history of Eudunda Hospital articles.

Eudunda Hospital
Celebrating 100 Years
Open Day – 9th Oct 2022
11am to 4pm

Read more about the plans for the 100th Celebrations here

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