Royal visit in 1952
Forgotten and derelict - or so it appears. What is the story behind this vision of wanton ransacking and destruction. We hope someone can tell us....
Well, somebody did, and not just somebody - a big thank you to Jenny B who spoke to her old school friend Viv, whose mother was a nurse at the Waipukurau Hospital. This is the story......
Waipukurau Hospital celebrated its centennial in 1979.
The following background notes on the hospital come from the ‘Waipukurau Hospital Centennial Souvenir Booklet 1879 – 1979’. (Thank you to Jenny)
The government donated 5 acres of land in 1876 and agreed to a pound for pound subsidy to build Waipukurau Hospital. The hospital was completed in 1879 and the first patients were admitted.
The 1879 hospital consisted of two wings - male and female wards, as well as four other rooms to house staff and was known as the Waipawa County Hospital. However, from then up until 1907 the hospital was also called Waipukarau Hospital District Hospital and Waipukurau and Waipawa County Hospital.
A report on hospitals in 1886 described the institution as follows : - This hospital occupies a beautiful site a little distance from the town. The reserve is about 5 acres of good land well laid out and surrounded by a belt of fine trees. A considerable portion is cultivated as a kitchen garden and orchard. The building contains a female ward with five beds; a small isolating male ward with three beds; and two large male wards, one of which contains five beds. In addition there are a convenient dispensary, a committee room, a dining room for convalescent patients, a handsome well furnished kitchen and three rooms for resident staff”.
The first major addition to the hospital was the construction of an additional ward in 1890.
The staff total in 1895 was 12 and a nurses’ cottage was built in 1898.
In 1909 a further ward built in brick was added.
An infectious disease annex built a short distance from the main hospital building in 1919 was used until 1957, when it closed through lack of staff, re-opened again in 1962 as geriatric unit.
In 1926 the nurses’ home was built in brick. This was added to in 1942 in ferro-concrete. The main administration block was erected in 1927, allowing the old administration offices to be converted into extra children’s ward accommodation to supplement space being used in the original 1897 building.
Major additions in 1935 were the medical administration and outpatients’ wing and a ‘modern’ operating theatre block on the southern side of the main corridor. The medical administration and outpatients’ block was extended in 1942 and at the same time a new ward and clinics for x-ray and physiotherapy, plus a laboratory were constructed.
In the mid 1950s a rebuilding programme began. A TB annexe built after the First World war was sold to make room for the large development programme, which included a laundry, extensions to the main kitchen block with provision of male and female dining-rooms, new male staff living quarters, a water reservoir, new boiler-house, ambulance garages, workshops and an incinerator. These were completed by 1956.
Building continued in the 60s, with the completion of the administration block in 1961, the geriatric unit in 1962, a new ward block and mortuary in 1963, operating theatre in 1964 and additions to the maternity annexe in 1966.
Voluntary contributions helped build a swimming pool for staff near the Nurses’ Home in 1964.
The Central Hawke’s Bay Health Centre, situated in Cook Street, Waipukurau, was established in January 2000 after the closure of the old Waipukurau Hospital.
There’s also a newspaper article by Beverley Fox, outlining how the old hospital had been bought shortly after its closure by two brothers living in Auckland. Fox explains the day after the purchase “vandalism and stealing began with the disappearance of the copper down pipes and gutters. Since then there has been a steady decline in the buildings, despite the owners’ efforts to renovate”.
Central Hawke’s Bay mayor, Trish Giddens says “Council is working with the family to find a way to secure the buildings and find an ultimate solution as to the buildings’ future