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Cooma Hospital

Cooma Hospital

This institution, which is situated in Bombala Street, on the outskirts of the town, has no record of its birth other than the date 1867, which is engraved in the masonry work of the main building. If credence were given to the dates attached in rotation to the annual reports issued by the Committee, the Hospital would date its commencement as such, back to 1860. Even as far back as 1893 the Committee published its thirty-third annual report, whilst the "Manaro Mercury" of 1892 has a reference attributing the foundation of the institution to the efforts of Archdeacon Druitt in 1862. A good deal of the doubt enshrouding the beginning of the present building is dispelled by a letter dater 27th September, 1867, written by Archdeacon Druitt from "The Parsonage," Cooma, to Mr. Alexander Montague, Treasurer, etc., Cooma Hospital, as follows:

"As the new hospital is nearly complete I think it must be time to forward to you my promised contribution of 5/5/- towards the funds.

"It strikes me the best way of opening the new building will be by calling a meeting of all the subscribers, when the rules and regulations should be definitely settled and ordered to be printed, and a House Committee should be appointed with a proper secretary, etc., etc.

"Perhaps Monday, 21st October, would be a good day, of which timely notice could be given."

C. J Walmsley
Secretary, Cooma Hospital, Cooma P & A Society and Cooma P. P. Board
William Crisp
President Cooma Hospital 1925

Until the year 1899 the hospital was carried on with more or less success. About that time its conduct appears to have been subjected to a very considerable amount of adverse criticism. Professional training was then not as general as it is today, and the nursing duties and general administration of the institution were performed by ladies of the town, whose credentials would now not be recognised by the Department of Public Health as qualifying them for appointment as matron to the institution. The position was de finitely realised towards the middle of 1899, when the Committee determined to reorganise the hospital. As a preliminary, applications were called for the position of Matron from ladies possessing certificates evidencing full professional training, the result being the appointment of Miss M. A. O'Keefe, in October, 1899. From that time the hospital, governed year after year by a progressive committee, has never looked back. Immediately much of the old furniture was destroyed and replaced by modern appliances and conveniences. The income and expenditure of the year ending 1924 was 1849 1 8s 10d and 2,286 7s 5d. respectively. Since its reorganisation the institution has answered every demand made upon it. Having behind it the confidence and support of the whole district it has spent much money in improvements. The outside appearance has been entirely altered, the accommodation has been more than doubled by the addition of extra wards and large verandahs, quarters have been provided for the staff, an up-to-date operating theatre has been built, a magnificent water service has been installed, the town electrical system supplies the light, and an X-Ray plant is now being added. The Medical Officers are Drs. F. L. Utber and F. N. Rodda. The Secretary, Mr. C. J. Walmsley, has held that office since 1897. The trustees are Messrs. F. F. Mitchell and D. Jeffrey; Mr. F. F. Mitchell is Honorary Solicitor, and Messrs. H. V. S. Wells and P. H. D. McNee Honorary Dental Surgeons. Miss I. Koops is Matron.

The Presidents since 1899 have been:- 

W. Willmott, 1900-1905; 
F. F. Mitchell, 1906-1912; 
R. Craig, 1913-1914; 
G. Kaufline, 1915-1916; 
H. Gunning, 1917-1919; 
G. E. Curtis, 1920; 
E. Rolfe 1921; H. P. Faulkner, 1922-1924; 
W. Crisp 1925, and just re-appointed for 1926.

Dr Winsor Merryweather's Surgery, Lambie Street

Transcribed by Pattrick Mould, May 2003, from the book "Back to Cooma" Celebrations, Felix Mitchell, 1926, p103



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