Hospital staffs ‘family reunion
IT WAS more a "family reunion" than a get-together of former colleagues at the Ballina RSL Bowling Club last Saturday night.
And a big family it was, with about 200 people attending the Ballina hospital reunion - including board members, doctors, nursing staff, ward staff, ground staff and maintenance contractors.
Former nurses Honor Brown, Dorothy Fahey and Enid Steele all described the get-together as a family reunion.
They worked at the hospital in the late 1940s and into the early 1950s - a time when there were only two doctors in Ballina.
Enid even had her wedding reception at the hospital.
They recalled the days when the hospital had its own garden, and two of the duties of the ground staff were to milk the cows and collect the eggs.
And junior nurses on night shift were required to wash nappies and hang them on the line outside.
In those days it wasn't uncommon for locals to have their own cows, and some of them would escape and have to be shoo-ed away from the hospital.
Former hospital CEO Doug Stinson organised the event with other staff.
Mr Stinson, who worked at the hospital from 1983-1993 when it was run by a local board, said the hospital was "a community".
He said smaller hospitals like Ballina had a "continuing role in the community".
"Quite a bit of money has been put into it, and that recognises the importance of it," he said.
The hospital was built in 1883.