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Mail:- Tumut History, PO Box 132, Tumut, NSW 2720, Australia
"Information is our only purpose; that accomplished, we shall consider that we have done our duty."  Reference

•In 1841, Penelope Mary Bingham, wife of the Commissioner of Crown Lands, did the first doctoring. (In 1839 a Dr Clayton owned land at Blowering for two years, but there is no record of him practicing medicine.)

•In 1842, Dr. William Large (the first regularly qualified medical practitioner) arrived at Cockatoo (downstream from the present site of Tumut) and commenced practice. In 1847, he was the only practitioner listed in the Tumut -Gundagai region (or apparently between Yass and the Murray River). Dr. Large was reported to be a very humorous Irishman. He had been a sergeant in the Spanish Legion in Spain. A map of the Squatting Runs in the County of Buccleuch dated 1852 shows Dr. Large's hut at Cockatoo so it can be concluded that he came to the district even earlier.

•In 1852 whilst Dr. Large was travelling on horseback with George Shelley to Melbourne, Mr Shelley contracted typhoid fever and died soon after reaching Melbourne.

•The Wynyard Times of  11 February 1862 carried an advertisement that Dr. Large could be consulted daily at the Dispensary next door to the Royal Victoria Hotel.  The same paper also advertised a farewell ball to be held on the 28 March 1862 in the Victoria Hotel, Tumut, to Dr. and Mrs. Large. Tickets £1 each.

•Evidently they did not leave the district because in 1867 Mrs. Large was conducting a Church of England Boarding School in the old Empire Theatre in Richmond Street adjoining the White Horse Inn at the corner of Richmond and Fitzroy Streets. Resident pupils paid £40 per annum.

•Dr. Large died at Tumut on 21 October 1881 aged 75 years. His eldest son, William Large had died at Tumut on 6 April 1856 aged 17 years.

•In November 1860, when Adelong was at the peak of its prosperity (and temporarily more important than Tumut) Dr. Large practiced in both towns but lived in Adelong.

•In 1860, Dr. Inglis arrived from England and set up at the Rising Moon Hotel.

•During this period, Doctors seldom made enough wages to live and often had to run a separate business as well.

•1886 - Dr. H. Wharton Mason was a Medical Practitioner and a Dairy Farmer. He owned Mill Dairy. His son Jock Mason or "young" Dr Mason took over the practice when his father died in the early 1930's.

•Prior to April 1860 Sydney dentist's advertised locally.

•April 1860 P. Carr & Co opened a dental surgery at Maddigan's Cottage in Fitzroy Street.

•From 1850 to 1890, Mr. Francis Foord was Tumut's Undertaker.

•In 1914, the Tumut Branch of the Red Cross Society was inaugurated. This branch is still active today.


•Steve Murphy - When we lived at Brungle we had to come into town for medical help. One day Artie Owen was chasing rabbits and put his hand in a tree stump. When he pulled it out, he had two pricks in his finger. Thinking it was a snakebite he went and lopped off his finger then soaked a rag in kerosene and wrapped it around his finger and went back after the snake, which turned out to be two sticks in the log.

•Elsie Piper - The dentist was Percy Madigan, by gosh it hurt. We used to come in to see old Dr. Mason when we were sick. We did have some home remedies, though. There was a plant that grew flat on the ground; it was really only a weed. The leaf was white and soft on one side and if you put it on a cut until it stopped bleeding it would heal up quite wen. Leeches were good for bruises. Grandfather had a foot crushed by a wild bullock and he had to have it taken off. He made his own artificial stump, which strapped on to his knee; later on, he got a proper artificial foot.

•Peggy Stacy - Dad, Dr. Clouston, travelled as far as Adaminaby to visit the sick. My brother, Tom, said that there wasn't a gate in Tumut we hadn't opened at some stage. The hospital was only new when he came to Tumut. Dad always said it was remarkably good for a small town. That was one of the attractions when he came here, knowing that there was a good facility.

•Pat Atkinson - I can remember seeing my first funeral; it was Jack Halloran's. The hearse was horse drawn and had black plumes at each comer. The horses were draped with black rugs. The horses were walked into the cemetery. Mum said we could watch the funeral but we couldn't count the vehicles because that was bad luck.

•The hospital was only new when Dr. Clouston came to Tumut. He always said the hospital was remarkably good for a small town. That was one of the attractions when he came here, knowing that there was a good facility.

•In the early years births, deaths and marriages were recorded in family bibles and church records only. Some families still practice this tradition of recording details in family bibles to this day.

•10.5.1830 - The first birth of a white child in Tumut was Elizabeth McAlister at Darbalara.

•1845- The first known death was William Shelley.

•1856 - The NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages Register came into force.

•17.5.1856 the first death to be registered at Tumut was that of Amelia Dean, aged 8 days.

•1.3 .1856 the first birth to be Registered at Tumut was Edward Chas Brown.

•Three centuries ago, the average length of life was only 21 years.

•In 1915, it had risen to 40 years.

•Now the average life expectancy is approximately 80 years.

•Three centuries ago, one in every four children died in their first year.

•In 1915, one in six children perished in their first year, and now the odds are considerably better.

•The nurse is the doctors assistant.

•But often in the early years the nurse was the only medical help available.

•This was especially so at the time of birth. At these times a neighbour's wife (or in later years a midwife) helped the new mother deliver her baby.

Some of Tumut's early midwives included:-

•Mrs Sarah Webb from 1870 to 1903 assisted mothers in their home or her own home at Bombowlee.

•Mrs Guy in Russell Street confined patients in her home.

•Mary Carr had a private hospital in Herbert Street from 1902 to 1910.

•Mrs Emery had a private hospital in Richmond St. (Sefton House) from 1912 to 1920. Her daughter Annie (a registered nurse who had trained in Sydney) assisted.

•Nurse Jones, a trained nurse attended many women in their homes 1920 to 1936.

•Eventually Valmar Maternity Hospital, in Kirk Avenue, was set up and mothers went there. During WWII patients rolled bandages for the war effort during their confinement.

A successful nurse is born not made.

•Disposition - The qualities, which constitute an ideal nurse, include -

•Amiability, which includes a benevolent nature, a spontaneous flow of kind acts and considerate attentions. She must naturally be kind in thought, word and deed

•Sympathy with a patient's distress, without weak sentimentality.

•Cheerfulness - the sick room is not the place for a gloomy or morose person

•Unselfishness - willing to sacrifice herself for her patient.

•Calmness - cool judgement, calm demeanour not accompanied by hesitancy will inspire confidence.

•Patience - those who are normally thoughtful can become trying and demanding when ill.

•Firmness - it is desirable for a nurse to be sufficiently resolute to secure compliance with her instructions.

•Tact - to regulate the matter of visitors without giving offence and to refrain from giving histories of other patients.

•Observation - a failure to correctly interpret what is seen will, work to the detriment of the patient.

•Physical soundness - it is essential that the nurse be exceptionally sound, have a healthy body and imbued with the power of endurance. In addition, she should have good vision, good hearing and a good sense of smell.
Infectious Diseases in Tumut

•For years the dreaded typhoid fever scourge kept recurring and at one period seventy people suffering from the disease were laid up at the same time.

•William Connors senior came from Berry on the South Coast to Wagga Wagga in 1850. He was only there a very short time when three of his children died from typhoid fever. He then moved to a farm on the Gilmore Creek.

•In 1852, whilst travelling on horseback to Melbourne with Dr. Large, George Shelley contracted typhoid fever and soon after his arrival in Melbourne he died, leaving his widow Amelia at Tumut Plains with eight children.

•9 July 1862 - Brother Michael died, aged 3 years. 11 July 1862. Brother Michael buried. Roach read the prayers. Martin Brennan 1862

•23 July, 1862. Brother James departed this life, died of Colonial or scarlet fever. 24 July, 1862, interred my dear brother James' (14 years) body. M. Mara read the prayers.  Martin Brennan 1862

•On 21 August 1876 Robert Kennedy Broughton died at his home at Gadara from typhoid fever.

•July 23 1876 -Got to Coolac few minutes after daybreak for funeral of Scholastic Shanahan who died of typhoid. People were afraid to go into house in consequence. Funeral started at sunrise.  Martin Brennan 1876

•Typhoid fever epidemics which ravaged the Tumut district for some years claimed several victims among the Chinese. The disease had been recurring spasmodically in the district for over thirty years, but in 1881 it was in epidemic proportions and the victims were mostly among the strong and virile types. Five Chinese contracted the disease and died within a few days.

•The Sydney Morning Herald of 1 August 1881 reported the death of E. O'Mara, J.P. from typhoid and later the same year recorded the death of five Chinese who died from the disease within a few days of each other. It continued in epidemic form until after the turn of the century and the Municipal Council had organised a pan system to replace the sanitary pits.

•June 1894, the Primary and Infants schools were amalgamated on account of falling attendances. This drop in attendance resulted from the economic difficulties of the nineties coupled with the typhoid epidemic which ravaged the district at the time.

•In the last quarter of 1895 no less than 84 children were absent from school on account of typhoid fever, 55 stayed away because of fear of the disease and 30 did not enrol for fear of the infection. One of the teachers contracted typhoid. There were frequent outbreaks of scarlet fever, measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough, but despite all this, the enrolment was at 347 in 1903 when there was a further epidemic.

•Tumut. - Typhoid fever - Two more deaths occurred yesterday at Gocup - Millie Duffy 22, and Matthew Egan, grazier, 25. There is quite a scare here. Nearly seventy cases are still under treatment and fresh ones are a daily occurrence. In one section of the centre of the town there is scarcely a house without a typhoid patient. Sydney Morning Herald  6 April 1896

•Miss Georgina Rankin 19 of Bombowlee Station died after a few days illness from typhoid. Sydney Morning Herald 20 May 1896

•Dr. Ashburton Thompson of the Board of Health arrived in Tumut to investigate the sanitary conditions of the town, with a view to discovering the cause of the outbreak of typhoid fever. Sydney Morning Herald  9 July 1896.

•The Tumut Cottage Hospital was built in 1899 by public subscription at a cost of  between thirteen and fourteen hundred pounds, of which the government contributed 226 pound  as a special vote.

•Local businessman, Ah Chee also contributed the sum of 100 pounds.

•It was officially opened in 1900 by Sir John See, the then Premier. It was opened free of debt.

•First Committee:- RF Donaldson, John Weeden, N Emanuel, RA Newman, Spencer Groves, James Blakeney, WH Bridle, R Joyce, Ah Chee.

•First Medical Officer - Dr Fitzpatrick

•First Matron - Miss Massie

•In 1900, the Tumut Cottage Hospital was built by public subscription.

•It cost £1,400. Of this, the Government contributed £226.

•Sir John See (Premier of NSW) officially opened the hospital in September 1900.

•The first medical officer was Dr. Fitzpatrick.

•The first matron was Miss Massie.

•An Isolation Ward and Nurses Quarters were later added to the original building. (These are no longer used for these purposes)

•The hospital has been supported practically since it's inception by the residents of Tumut and District with the help of Government grants of £100 in 1904 and 1911 respectively.

•The United Hospital Auxiliary - Tumut Branch is still actively raising funds to make improvements for staff and patients today.


•President:- R Donaldson

•Trustees:- R Donaldson, J Weeden, N Emanuel, J Learmont, S Groves,

•Committee:- R Donaldson, J Weeden, N Emanuel, CS Morriset, CM Vernon, FC Marsh, SF Wilkinson, JD Walker, A Emery, J Learmont, James Blakeney, S Groves.
Medical History
Archived Hospital Replacement Campaign
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