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Queensland Governor back for 50th anniversary

Governor of Queensland Quentin Bryce could hardly have imagined 50 years ago as she launched the first door knock appeal in Brisbane to raise money to build a new hospital, that she would be back in 2008 to launch St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Who better than the Governor to open the proceedings and unveil a plaque in memory of this great occasion having marched the streets of Brisbane as a University of Queensland student all those years ago raising funds for the original hospital building.

Ms Bryce explained that she had attended Moreton Bay College as a child, which was at the time a Presbyterian school, the same church that was behind the founding of St Andrew’s.

So in her first year studying social work at the University of Queensland it seemed a charitable thing to do help raise funds for what has now become one of Brisbane’s most medically influential private hospitals.

“I remember door knocking in Auchenflower,” she muses, “as it was particularly hot that day and those hills are very, very steep!”

The doors of St Andrew’s opened on May 17, 1958 as a small 84 bed hospital. Now it is undergoing a $73 million redevelopment that will see it able to take 260 inpatients and will boast the most modern and up to date facilities.

The hospital which now comes under the umbrella of UnitingCare Health has played an important part in the medical history of Brisbane and has featured heavily in the life the Governor’s family.

Her sister Diane was one of the first nurses to train at the hospital and went on to become the head theatre nurse. She has also used the hospital for herself and all her family. “My daughter was at St Andrew’s for treatment only last Christmas and received wonderful care and attention.”

Ms Bryce says her involvement with St Andrew’s was her first “grass roots experience” of community activity and helped shape her future. “The foundation of the hospital was a remarkable endeavour,” she says. “It was driven by marvellous doctors and supported by so many in the church and the community.”

The launch is the first of many celebrations the hospital will be holding over the next few months to celebrate its jubilee year. It will be held at St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Cnr Anne and Creek Streets, Brisbane, March 4 at 10am.