June 2, 2020

What Our Hospital Means To Our Community

Toowoomba is a city full of heritage and history.

From stunning homes built in the 19th century (and still standing today) to the country’s longest-running flower festival, the Garden City truly is a place to be proud of. Standing at its core is the famous Toowoomba Hospital, and as our healthcare workers battle the coronavirus every day, we think it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the significance of this special hospital and its history.

Toowoomba Hospital: A brief history

Toowoomba Hospital has come a long way since its earliest days in the late-19th century. Initially created in response to a local outbreak of the deadline typhoid fever, the original hospital opened in 1880 as a mere four-ward, double-storey building with fewer than 70 beds.

In the decades that followed, an influx of residents to the city meant the hospital had to expand to accommodate its growing population. By the time the Roaring Twenties rolled around, Toowoomba Hospital boasted an operating wing, isolation ward, maternity ward and plenty of onsite accommodation for staff.

As medical technology advanced in the mid-20th century, Toowoomba Hospital had to make major alterations to the bones of its structure. Original buildings were removed and replaced by sturdier brick facilities, and soon it was recognised as one of Queensland’s biggest and best hospitals – rivalling even those in the state capital.

Recognition through its heritage listing

As we entered a new millennium, Toowoomba Hospital’s significant contribution to the city was guaranteed when it was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Upon announcing its heritage designation, a number of key facilities were recognised. Freshney House and Cossart House were singled out for their contribution to the development of nursing education in Queensland, while the former morgue from 1896 was shown to be one of the rarest surviving buildings of its type.

Plans for the future: A new Toowoomba Hospital

But like all things in life, Toowoomba Hospital needs to look to the future in order to continue delivering high-quality healthcare to the public. That’s why in 2018 the Queensland Premier announced the new Toowoomba Hospital would be located at the site of Baillie Henderson Hospital in Toowoomba North.

The State Government is pouring $9 million into the project’s design phase, and the final redeveloped Toowoomba Hospital will be spread across a 75-hectare campus that will include “open, natural tree-lined spaces, interconnecting heritage buildings, multi-disciplinary health services, research, education, commercial, and community recreation spaces,” according to Darling Downs Health.

Links to the country’s first-ever appendectomy

Here’s a fun fact about Toowoomba Hospital that you might not have known. Way back in 1893 – when medical science wasn’t what it is today, and surgeries had a much higher fatality rate than we’d like to imagine – a local Toowoomba woman by the name of Emma Webb needed surgery to remove her appendix or face certain death.

The problem was that a successful appendectomy had never been performed in Australia – and even worse, she couldn’t leave her home to go to the hospital. Luckily, the doctor who performed her surgery managed to keep her alive, and Ms Webb even outlived him.

In honour of this great accomplishment, the main building at Toowoomba Hospital, the Emma Webb Building, is named after her.

Supporting our healthcare workers during COVID-19

With COVID-19 affecting so many people around the world, we’ve certainly realised just how important healthcare workers are to our everyday lives. Toowoomba Hospital staff are on the frontline of the coronavirus battle, and without their courage and dedication, we would be in a much more dire situation.

The good news is that you can give back to the people helping us get through this pandemic by donating to the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation. So, if you want to show your support you can donate through the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation’s website.

Your donation will go directly to the purchase of life-saving equipment and resources, staff development, research and more.

Find your new home in the Toowoomba community

Looking to move into your next dream home? Now is the perfect time to find it. We can help you buy your ideal Toowoomba home, so contact an experienced local agent today.

Photo credit: https://highlifemagazine.net/historic-hospital/

Article by Joanne Rowe

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