Miss Isabela Dickson

1st February 1886 – January 1888

Miss Isabella Dickson became the Matron on Ist February 1886. 

By 1887 the average daily number of beds was 198.5, the average hospital was 42.5 days and Matron Dickson was requesting that the sixteen permanent nurses be increased by four. The organisation of this fragmented establishment put undue strains on the nursing resources. 

The infectious division nurses could not be diverted into general wards. Ambulance duty meant nurses were absent from the wards causing the remaining nurses to stay on duty longer and, in emergencies, nurses would be seconded to the Quarantine station at North Head for varying periods. 

No female general staff were allocated to ward work, all the heavy domestic ward work fell to the nurses. Convalescent patients constituted the only available labour force and were employed as nursing aids, scrubbers, laundresses, kitchen hands and water carriers. If employed regularly, they were paid, and most probably found the work a relief from the boredom of weeks and months in hospital. 

Matron Dickson resigned in January 1888.