Monday, February 16, 2015

Wesley Hospital, Auchenflower

Construction of the Wesley Hospital at Auchenflower commenced in 1975 with the first patients arriving on 1 March 1977. It is run by UnitingCare Health and has over 500 beds as well as suites for medical specialists. The hospital stands on the former Moorlands site that was owned by the Mayne family, and the residence built by Mrs Mayne still stands there.

Some people may not be aware that the Wesley Hospital had its origins across the river at South Brisbane where the Methodist Church had operated St Helen's Private Hospital for decades.

A Dr. Charles Kebbell established St Helen's Hospital in 1896, originally creating the hospital in the St Helen's Boarding House - a two storey building that was situated on the river side of Peel Street, South Brisbane. 
(Photo: JOL 96602) c1911

(Photo: JOL 202857) 1950

In 1900 the hospital was bought by Dr Ernest Sandford Jackson, formerly the medical superintendent at the Brisbane Hospital. Sandford Jackson was a founding father of the university medical school and founder of the (Royal) Australasian College of Surgeons Queensland branch. He had established Australia's first school of nursing at Brisbane Hospital and the nursing school he established at St Helen's was probably the first at a private facility. Here is a photo of the doctor with his St Helen's nurses.
(Photo: SLQ 7979 St Helen's Methodist Hospital Photographs)

Here is a pre-WWII picture of the hospital taken from the Brisbane River.
(Photo: SLQ 7979 St Helen's Methodist Hospital Photographs)

And the following photo shows the same view after extensions and alterations to the building.
(Photo: JOL 7979-0001-0008)

This undated photograph shows an operating theatre at the hospital.
(Photo: SLQ 7979 St Helen's Methodist Hospital Photographs)

Dr Sandford Jackson died in 1938 and his estate continued to run St Helen's for another decade. In 1949 the hospital was acquired by the Methodist Church and became known as the St Helen's Methodist Hospital. In 1969 it was decided to move the hospital to the 'Moorlands' estate on Coronation Drive, Milton, to become part of the planned Wesley Hospital. The St Helen's site was eventually bought by the State Government for the building of a new State Library of Queensland.

One of the buildings on the hospital campus has been named after Dr Ernest Sandford Jackson. Here is a 2009 photograph of the Wesley.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. Excellent that Dr Jackson had established Australia's first school of nursing at Brisbane Hospital and the nursing school he established at St Helen's might have been the first at a private facility. But what did the hospitals in Brisbane do before Dr Jackson - use untrained staff? recruited trained nurses from New South Wales? or invited nurses from Britain?

    Architecture can be such a wonderful source of social history.

    1. Haha! Good question!

      I assumed that "school" implied a formal syllabus and a classroom.

      Perhaps prior to that it was ad hoc training on the job.

  2. Talk about serendipity! I was just at the Wesley picking up a patient....gazing at the Sandford building wondering who he was...thank you :D x

  3. You have a wonderful blog, I love all the old photos. Thanks so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

  4. Hi, I commenced my nursing training at St Helens in 1976 an complteted the final 2 years at The Wesley Hosppital. The old photos bring back memories. I was one of just a handful of men in those days who ventured into nursing as a profession.


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