The Flowers Hospital

Fred Flowers
Minister for Health
Commemorative Stone laid by W A Holman in 1914
Ward 18, Flowers Hospital.
To the left is the pathology building and administration block.

In 1913, Mr. Fred Flowers, the then Minister for Health,  prepared an extensive rebuilding scheme, which included the construction of no less than twenty wards each of fifty beds, a total of one thousand new beds. The new hospital when completed to be known as “The Flowers Hospital”.

About this time the Government had spent a great deal of money in the making of sand-bricks at Botany, but the project regrettably had not caught popular fancy and the bricks were not selling. So they were dumped at the Coast Hospital, and the State sand-brick factory at Botany promptly shut down, never to reopen.

The foundation stone for the new hospital was laid by the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. W. A. Holman, on 7th November 1914. By the end of the war, six of these pavilions had been completed, representing three hundred beds.

No provision had been made for the extra nurses needed to staff these wards, so one ward was subdivided into cubicles and thereby made into nurses’ quarters; this division was called “18 quarters”.

At this stage, unfortunately, the project came to a halt–presumably because the supply of sand-bricks ran out–and no more of these pavilions were built. Those that were erected were numbered 1 to 6 and were in active use.

The rest of the pavilions planned for erection were to extend south wards from wards 2, 4 and 6 (19, 21 and 23) in three parallel lines. About the middle of these lines of buildings and lying to the westward, were to be the new administrative blocks and the Outpatients Department, grouped about a circle formed by a branch tramline from the Sydney-La Perouse track (see aerial photo, fig. 21). The tram was to be the main form of transport for patients and visitors to and from the city, and ambulance trams were to unload stretcher cases beneath a protective canopy jutting out from the front of the Outpatients Department over the tramline itself. As this part of the plan was never carried into effect, the loopline was only used as a waiting place for those trams bringing visitors to the hospital.