Our History


December 14th

Mr. S. Trethowan and Dr. John Johnston placed an advertisement into the Nathalia Herald, on 14th December 1888, calling for a public meeting to be held on Friday 21st December to discuss the viability of erecting a hospital in Nathalia.

December 21st
In response to the advertisement placed in the Nathalia Herald, about 30 gentlemen assembled in Humberstone's Hall, on Friday December 21st 1888, to consider the advisableness or otherwise of erecting a Hospital in Nathalia The opinion of this meeting was that "the time has now arrived, when a Hospital should be erected in Nathalia". The meeting did not decide to build a Hospital, but only affirmed that it was a necessity, and if the promised support warranted, a further meeting would be called.

Whilst it would be many years before a public hospital would be established in Nathalia, during the early 1900's a hospital service was represented by a succession of midwives who delivered babies in the home and several lying-in homes and private hospitals.

Dr. F. Keyes built a private weatherboard
residence on the corner of Elizabeth and North
Streets in Nathalia, which was destroyed by
fire on 2nd November 1893. He rebuilt his
home, this time using bricks, which was
occupied by 1894. He named his home "Mayo",
after County Mayo, Ireland , where he was born.

He continued his medical practice in Nathalia until
his death in 1918.

Dr, Tyrell Keyes, continued his father's medical practice for two years, and sold the practice to Dr W.A. Birrell.

Dr W. A. Birrell continued the practice for seven years and sold the practice and "Mayo" in 1927 to Dr N. S. Harbison

Dr N. S. Harbison continued to practice from and lived in "Mayo".

In 1939 "Mayo" became a private hospital owned by Dr N. S. Harbison.

Nathalia Herald October 1950, as a result of a public meeting, in Nathalia last Thursday, a committee has been formed to investigate the possibility of building a hospital in Nathalia. Mr McVilley from the Hospital and Charities Commission attended the meeting, and after listening to the reports of the committee, Mr McVilley recommended to the committee, that they should give some consideration to having the present hospital ("Mayo"), taken over by the public and enlarged at a cost of 10,000 pounds, of which the commission would be prepared to pay half.

The Hospital and Charities Commission authorised the purchase of the "Mayo" private hospital from Dr. N. S. Harbison.

The hospital was renovated and enlarged over the next 3 years, and this building became the Nathalia District Hospital .

Architects Messrs Robert S. Demaine & Associates were instructed to construct an economical building, which at the same time, would be durable and economical in maintenance.

Several types of construction were investigated, and a pre-cast concrete and wall construction which had been developed by "Concav" for housing, was adopted for hospital construction by re-design and amendment of the system to suit the complex needs of hospital work. This construction minimised labour and the cost of transportation of normal building materials for long distances

The hospital was equipped with the most modern high pressure sterilising equipment. The laundry and kitchen were also equipped with ample modern fittings for a country hospital.

The mechanical services comprised of automatic oil fired boilers, which supplied ample hot water throughout the building, and hot water radiation for the winter months.

The high standard of internal finish minimised the future maintenance, whilst externally, the material was particularly suited to the contemporary methods of construction and decoration.

The general finish of the hospital and the equipment, provided comfort and treatment facilities comparable with that provided in larger institutions.

The total cost of construction and mechanical installation, together with fixed equipment, which was completed by builders - Overseas Corporation Australia Ltd., amounted to approximately 46,000 pounds.

On Friday 2nd December 1955 at 3 pm, the
Nathalia District Hospital and was officially
opened by the Hon. E.P. Cameron M.L.C.
Minister of Health.

In 1982 the hospital kitchen was remodeled.
The domestic dining room became the cool
room and freezer, and the laundry and toilets
were updated.

During this year, two, two bed wards, were
extended to accommodate a further four new
beds. This area is known as the Robert Parker

An agreement was reached with the health
Department of Victoria to change the bed
status of Nathalia District Hospital and Nursing
Home from a total of 25 beds, (19 Acute and
6 Nursing Home) to 22 beds, (10 Acute and
12 Nursing Home).

In July, the Minister for Housing and Aged Care approved a grant for the provision of six additional Nursing Home beds. The total cost of the extension was $300,000.00 funded by a Commonwealth grant of $156,398.00. The balance was made up by donations from the Nathalia Community.

The Norm Smith Wing was officially opened on Sunday 9th September by the Hon. Bruce Lloyd M.P. The extension has been named in honour of Mr. Norm Smith, who played a leading role in organising fund raising activities for the Hospital and nursing Home, particularly the New Year's Eve carnival.

The Minister for Aged Care, Mr. Gavin Jennings announced in November that the Nathalia District Hospital and Banawah Nursing Home would receive $18 million to redevelop a new integrated 26 bed health and aged care service, as well as integrated community health and health promotion activities on the McDonell Street site.

In February 2008 the Minister for Health, Mr Daniel Andrews launched our new $18 million hospital building by officially turning the first sod. He was assisted by the National Member for Rodney Mr Paul Weller, Moira Shire Mayor Cr Frank Malcolm and Nathalia District Hospital Board President Mr Alan Sage.
The architects employed to designed the new building were Balcolme Griffiths and Associates of Melbourne. The builders were Hansen and Yunken from Shepparton who commenced the new building in March 2008, and completed it in November 2009.

Nathalia District Hospital officially moved into the new facility at 36-44 McDonell Street Nathalia, on Wednesday the 25th of November 2009.

Nathalia District Hospital was officially opened on Friday 5th of February 2010, by the Honorable Daniel Andrews M.P., Minister of Health.