Friday, November 30, 2012

Mater Hospital, South Brisbane

The Roman Catholic order, the Sisters of Mercy, has had a leading role in developing Brisbane since their arrival here in 1861. They were amongst the earliest providers of education to Queensland children and were also instrumental in health care. The sisters opened the Mater Misericordiae Private Hospital in 1906, situated at North Quay. It was a former residence called Aubigny that had been converted to a 20-bed hospital. Aubigny was built for Sam Davis, a Jew who added a separate building in the grounds that was actually Brisbane's first synagogue. It was then sold to Patrick Perkins, the brewer, and during his time the former synagogue was used as a billiard room. When the hospital was based there, this outbuilding was used as a chapel. Here is a photograph of Aubigny in use as the Mater Misericordiae Private Hospital.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

It did not take long for expansion to be necessary. The sisters built a new 130-bed private hospital at South Brisbane - it was opened on 14 August 1910. Here is a picture of the hospital under construction. This part of it is situated on the corner of Stanley St and Annerley Rd, opposite the Clarence Corner Hotel.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #10189-0002-0069)

Five short months later, in February 1911, the Mater opened a public hospital - a two-storey, 40-bed hospital that was to treat 3000 patients in its first three years of operation.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Since then, the Mater has been at the forefront of health care and the training and education of medical professionals. In fact, the beautiful mrs tff trained there as a radiographer. The hospital now works hand-in-glove with Queensland Health and employs several thousand people. It would be impossible to for me to display all of the achievements of the hospital, but their web pages provide a list of milestones.

Here is a picture of the hospital that was taken in 1924.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #21569)

A growing population has determined that the hospital infrastructure should also grow. It is now a massive campus and will become even larger because a new $1.1 billion Children's Hospital is currently being erected there. Here is an aerial photo of the huge complex - it now has its own location, Mater Hill.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
(Photo: ©

South Brisbane and Woolloongabba are experiencing another growth spurt. The development of Boggo Road Urban Village on the site of the old jail, together with the proposed cross-river rail project and possible residential redevelopment of the state government's GoPrint site near the freeway will ensure the area is rejuvenated.

Click here for a Google Map.




  1. The Mater Misericordiae Private Hospital, which opened in 1906, was a lovely building that could not meet the community's needs. Clearly it had to move and expand and modernise. But what happened to the original building at North Quay?

    Have a great holiday.. see you in 2013 :)

  2. Regrettably the house had to be demolished around 1930 to allow the construction of the William Jolly Bridge.

    Compliments of the season to you and yours.

  3. I love the old hospital. Such a shame they did some sort of half arsed expansion to the front of it to make some sort of walk way between the gables on the Annerley rd side. To me it looks to have been done in the 70's/80's going by the finishes they used and it really lets the building down. :(
    Also there is a typo just below the second photograph above. "Five short months later, in February 2011" I assume should read "1911"

    Its been great reading your blog and happy holidays to you and your family.

  4. Tommy: thanks for the proof-reading! The year should be 1911 as you surmised and I have changed the post accordingly.

    The hospital has grown so much over the years that it is now a collection of competing architecture. I guess one could say the same thing about the RBH too. I suppose that new building materials and techniques from each era compound the problem.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...