Old Bega Hospital History - Chapter 2

IN 1886 an “outsider”, Leslie Macarthur, the acting police magistrate, persuaded an influential meeting of representative citizens that there was a real need for a hospital in Bega. His considerable amount of research referencing the Hospital Act showed how a local hospital could be built through subscriptions and donations; how these could be collected and what monies would be needed to build and furnish the hospital. His proposals were convincing enough for motions to be passed that the hospital be built on the Bega Permanent Common, south from the suburb of Newtown, just east of the road to Candelo. It was also moved that a twelve man committee would make arrangements to collect subscriptions and to obtain plans and specifications for a hospital that would not cost more than £1,200.

At the first meeting of this committee Mr P H Wood was elected president and Mr Macarthur the honorary secretary, and he would call on Mr H Macdonnell to assist him. The committee realised that raising £1,200 would be very difficult indeed. It set about it in a methodical way so that the majority of residents of the town of Bega and surrounding districts would be canvassed. Men from Candelo, Wolumla, Merimbula, Pambula, Colombo, Wyndham and Eden were asked to call public meetings in their various townships in the district to bring the matter prominently before the residents. It was decided to divide Bega into five areas to be canvassed for subscriptions so Kerrison and Atkinson were to canvass Newtown, from High Street, and west of Gipps Street from Carp Street, it would be Manning and Harrison and so on. Others to be asked to contact their neighbours for subscriptions were W Ritchie, Tanja; J Gowing, Murrah; E Ritchie, Tathra Road; John Rheinberger, Meringlo; W Hanscombe, Numbugga; T Bateman, Buckey-joe; and C Stiles, Frogs Hollow. Those canvassing subscriptions were to take “into consideration the present hard times and the scarcity of the needful”. The hard times referred to was a drought in the district that had been both prolonged and disastrous.

The Mayor of the Bega Municipal Council, Thomas Rawlinson, took the lead in the fundraising by promising £10 10s towards the hospital. Fundraising events for the hospital were planned. Popular entertainment at the time were shows where the singers put on black face and dressed like American negroes, and sang the songs they believed the negroes sang. Cobargo had a troupe of these Minstrels who performed at the Temperance Hall in that town.

The Bega Standard reviewed the show:

The Ethiopian entertainment in aid of the Bega Hospital came off as advertised and it must have been very gratifying to those gentlemen who gave their time and study to getting the affair up to play to such a crowded house. The Temperance Hall, in which the play took place, was crowded from floor to ceiling. Mr W Saunders, as bones and comic conundrumist fairly carried the house with him. The singing of the other Ethiopians was for amateurs fairly good, but required a little more life to be audible at the end of the hall. The entertainment concluded with the farce entitled Black Justice. The farce was well sustained throughout, and each actor fulfilled his part well. After the performance the room was cleared for dancing, and to the dulcet strains of our local band the light fantastic was kept up to a late hour.

The Cobargo Minstrel show brought £12 16s to the hospital fund and the Good Templars gave them the use of the hall and piano free of charge.

At Numbugga, Mr Hanscombe had received promises of £22, and had collected £18, “which speaks well for that scattered neighbourhood in the present hard times”. Very welcome rain did fall in late July and “had done a great amount of good in this district: the bare brown hills of Bega are assuming a verdant tinge and the ploughshares, so long rusty, are now being brightened by use”. Other cheques were handed to the treasurer and donations promised and he said “It is very evident that there is a general desire in all directions to give the movement all possible assistance, by which the voice of the people practically says 'Of all things else, let me have a hospital'”.

The ladies of Bega decided to organise a Grand Plain and Fancy Dress Ball for 19th August, 1886, in aid of the Hospital. Entry was not cheap. Double tickets were 15 shillings and single, 10 shillings, and could be obtained from various people, and businesses in Bega, Candelo, Cobargo and Eden. Donations of poultry, hams, eggs, were welcomed and were left at Mr E Brown's Commercial Hotel.

Bega Standard, 14th August:

Some of the local ladies have been working assiduously and have been successful in securing contributions of various necessities in all directions. There is a flutter among the fair sex as to what they shall wear etc and there is talk of a considerable representation from the surrounding district and from up the mountains. The ball is to be artistically decorated and good music provided while every provision will be made for the comfort and enjoyment of those attending. We believe that a number intend to appear in fancy dress. As the Oddfellows appear to have been under the impression that the movement has emanated from the hospital committee, and will interfere with their ball on the 1st September, we are requested to state that the former is not the case, and the matter has almost entirely been initiated by the fair sex.

The hospital ball proved a great success and a report in the Bega Standard of 21st August described the supper table, “equipped with almost every delicacy likely to temp the appetite of the most fastidious, from the substantial ham to the toothsome oyster patty, beside a host of delicious and enticing compounds ending in mounds of splendid trifle or fading into crystal dishes of transparent fragile jellies and quivering blanc-manges. There was also a plentiful supply of liquids, including very good coffee, and last, but certainly not least, a goodly quantity of oyster soup, sufficient in quality to tickle the palate of the greatest connoisseur.” The hall had been decorated with “taste and skill with a number of beautiful tree ferns brought in from secluded gullies to grace the corners and prominent positions about the hall and stage. The music was principally supplied by Messrs Burry (piano), Loughan, (cornet); Chapman (violin) plus guests, and Mr A J Wilson (violin). “

There were a few problems – there were not enough gas lights for the size of the room and clouds of dust engulfed the dancers from the chalk laid on the floor and the “small quantities of mud brought in on the boots of careless people and afterwards ground to powder by the dancers”. It was fortunate that the Lyceum Hall had an annexe used as a supper room, so that the delicacies on offer were protected from the dust.

Some women who wore fancy dress chose international costumes such as a Highland lass, a Spanish lady and a colleen. Others dressed as a shepherdess, a gypsy, queen of roses and Jennie Dean, a character in one of Scott's novels. Grace Darling, the 23 year old British lighthouse keeper's daughter, who gained international repute when in 1938 in fierce weather she, along with her father, heroically rode out to a wreck and saved five people, was represented, but oddly enough, considering this was in aid of a hospital, the other very famous English woman, Florence Nightingale was not. As for the men, there was a Red Indian chief Wahnotee a Turkish chief, stockmen, eight sailors, a jockey, a cricketer, a captain and lieutenant of the volunteer reserve corps, a university graduate and officer guards. “The gas lit hall was filled with dancing feet from sixty dancing, approximately half in fancy dress and half in plain, we may mention the following as very attractive - Mrs Giles in satin and black Spanish lace- the dress of the evening; Mrs Josephs' cream satin and crimson; Mrs Marshall, cream broche and lace; Mrs Macarthur, black satin and old gold; Mrs Canning, cream silk; Mrs Vland; black and old gold satin, Mrs Rawlinson, black satin and gold; Mrs L Ritchie (Spanish Lady), crimson satin and black Spanish lace; Miss Otton, black net, old gold satin; Miss Rose Otton, white net and satin; Mrs P H Wood, scarlet satin and black Spanish lace; Mrs J Connelly, pale blue satin, pink roses; Mrs D Gowing, crimson cashmere and plush; Miss Rogers, cream cashmere and satin; Mrs Curran, cream satin and pearls; Miss Braine, white Indian muslin, profuse trimming; Miss J Allan, cream satin and lace; Mrs Postie, violet velvet and cream lace; Mrs Arnold, pink crimson plush and Mrs Cowdroy, handsome shot silk. We have been reliably informed that £15 was taken for tickets sold at the door, and the gross proceeds should amount to from £40 to £50.”

The food was so plentiful at the ball that there was quite a lot left over. The Bega Standard reported that next day there was pilfering by antiquated members of the fair sex and small boys. "These marauders almost swept the board of what might have been given to some of the many poor people about”.

While some were fundraising, others were working on what sort of hospital was to be built and it was suggested that valuable information might be obtained from the authorities who had been responsible for the building of other country hospitals as to plans etc and probable improvements on same, and there were a number to choose from. The nearest one was Braidwood, but there were also hospitals in other country towns like Gundagai, Goulburn, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Grafton and, as Leslie Macarthur had told them – Hay. It was also decided to ask the local doctor to furnish rough sketches of plans of buildings and general requirements and Dr Evershed did try his hand at it. Another suggestion was that a small prize be offered for the best design of a hospital, which would doubtless bring forth a number of competitors.

In June the chief clerk of the Department of Justice advised the committee that the local member, James Patrick Garvan, who had secured the Bega Permanent Common site for the hospital, wanted the names of the trustees for the site submitted to the Colonial Secretary for approval, also the conditions for the trust. Mr Garvan was the Member for Eden, the electorate that covered the Bega district. Unlike the present day, politicians in the Legislative Assembly, did not have to live in their electorate. Garvan, an insurance entrepreneur, not only did not live on the Far South Coast, but his growing colonial repute and wealth was due to his pioneering work in the Lismore Tweed district. Apart from his political and business interests he was an amateur sculler, a heavy weight boxer, held the record for a cricket ball throw (121 yards and one foot) and was an outstanding horseman.

In the Bega Standard edition of 7th July, a letter to the editor from “A subscriber” waxes indignant that Mr Macarthur, who had promised to perform the duties of the secretary, now wanted someone else to do that job, and a request had been made that he be paid:

The person proposed to fill this office is a comparative stranger in the town, and it would be a standing disgrace to the young men, long resident of Bega, to stand idly by and see such a person paid for work which should be gratuitous. I do not think the public will relish the idea of subscribing money to be swamped up by a paid official at the outset; and if the committee decide to remunerate a man for filling the duties of secretary, let tenders be called.

The August meeting of the committee was to receive the report of the sub-committee appointed to obtain all necessary information, sketch plans and recommendations on the building of a cottage hospital, but the members said they hadn't sufficient time so they were given a further 14 days. By October 1886 the committee told a subscriber meeting that over £350 was in the hospital account in the AJS Bank in Bega and more money was promised “It was agreed that application be made to the Government for £1,000 and the committee had every reason to believe this amount would be granted for the erection of the building. The committee had approved the site and would make application to the Minister of Lands for the resumption of the western side as a means of access to the hospital grounds. The committee was also of the opinion that a hospital meeting the district's requirements cannot be erected for a cost of less than £1,500, £300 more than originally thought”. Plans prepared by Sydney architects, Messrs Bolster and Justilius had been approved by the committee. It was proposed that the administrative portion of the building and the kitchen be of brick and the wards of wood, because it was too costly to have it all of brick. The plans had been submitted to the Inspector of Public Charities and approved by him. Now that the provisional committee had completed its work a committee of five were elected to draw up a code of rules for the management of the Hospital and they were Doctors Evershed, Marshal and Meeks and Messrs Rawlinson and Harrison.

At a meeting late October Mr Macarthur tendered his resignation as honorary secretary as he was being transferred away from Bega. Mr Braine, while moving the resignation be accepted, said that “Mr Macarthur, by his spirit and energy, had given a great fillip to the hospital movement, which had caused it to go ahead, and there now could be no doubt as to the ultimate issue, of establishing a hospital, being an absolute success. That gentleman had devoted considerable time and labour to the object, and was entitled to the very best thanks of the public for all he had done in the matter.” Others echoed the sentiments but it was drawn to everyone's attention that not only had Mr Macarthur done such a lot of work but that he had also been put to considerable personal expense, which ought to be recouped. The motion was carried but Mr Macarthur, after thanking the meeting for its appreciation said he would make the hospital a present of any monies he had personally expended.

A new rule was introduced which provided for a patient from an outlying district being treated at the hospital by the medical gentleman who had been attending him. At a meeting late November the following gentlemen were gazetted to be trustees of the land: Messrs H Wren, T Rawlinson, J D'Arcy, P H Wood and J P Kerrison, and Mr W Scott was unanimously elected to the position of treasurer. There would be a compulsory election of a board of management in January but in the meantime, in accordance with the Act, a temporary committee would, in conjunction with the trustees, deal with plans, call for tenders for buildings and conduct any incidental business.

On the 26th January, 1887, a list of nearly 150 eligible subscribers for election to the board of management was published in the Bega Standard and the election was held in the School of Arts. The paper was very critical of the “idiotic and almost unworkable mode of election provided by the Act” without explaining why, but which the secretary Mr French took some trouble to overcome. The election was “proceeded with the cumbersome and tiresome mode stipulated by the Act” with the results: President, Mr C T Stiles, vice-president, Mr F Bland; medical officers: Drs Evershed, Mackenzie, Marshall and Meeks; committee: Messrs G Forbes, C Harrison, J Connelly, H Cowdrey, W J Lane, D Gowing, J M Maher, H Underhill, C P Rodd, A A Wren, F R Manby and R Gentle. Auditors: Messrs W Scott (NSW) and H Skillman. “The funds now in hand are £500 and there is still a considerable sum promised. In less than 12 months time our hospital should be an established fact, and in a large district such as this should prove a boon and to many a blessing.”

On 2nd March, the Standard reported that Mr French had received a letter from the architects, Hotson and Bolster which said “the plans and specifications of the Bega Hospital are at the office of the Health officer awaiting his approval; as soon as they are approved, etc, we will forward them to you, but when that will be we cannot say, as the plans of the Taree Hospital have been in his hands for six weeks”. Hotson and Bolster were Sydney architects. James Henry Bolster started his career as an 18 year old articled to his uncle, William Boles, and with his cousin, James Justilius, had originally been given the task of designing the Bega Hospital, but Mr Justilius retired in 1887 and Mr Bolster partnered with John B Hotson, a highly esteemed civil and mining engineer. Mr French received another letter from the Board of Health to the architects seeking for further particulars, and the latter had not furnished a reply, or communicated with Mr French. The information asked by the Board was “the distance of the site from the township -a tracing of same and surroundings to be furnished, also certain information requited by the printed schedule. Exceptions are taken that the doors and passages as per plan, are too small for the carriage of patients on stretchers, and should be four feet and six feet wide; and the bathroom accommodation should be provided for the housekeeper, and more ventilation in lobby adjacent to patients' baths etc. With reference to the above, we understand Mr French has sent forward a tracing as required, together with any other information in his power. The delay now appears to rest with the architects, and it is to be hoped that they will be smartly stirred up”.

In early May 1887 the Board of Health asked for plans of the grounds, showing characters of same and the distance from the Post Office and later in May the Standard reported that “the red-tapeism of the Department is rapidly unrolling itself, and the hospital business has moved another step forward. Recently the plans of the grounds, etc, together with a string of other particulars, were forwarded to Sydney, and has evidently reached the Department through the architects, Bolster and Hotson”. Mr French had received a letter from the Medical Officer. He wrote "I have the honour, by direction of the Medical Adviser to the Government, to return you herewith, the plans, etc, of the Bega Hospital, and to request that you will furnish tracings for record in this department, on receipt of which the originals will be approved and returned to you”.

By early June the plans were laid on the table and inspected and there was a discussion on whether to proceed on the strength of the funds at hand. It was necessary that monies promises be collected which would more than double the £478 in hand. The committee received £4 from a fundraiser in Wolumla from the Candelo Minstrels. In June Mr French resigned and Mr Forbes was elected honorary secretary, and the committee decided not to do anything until there was a government grant of £1,000. To this end they asked Mr Henry Clarke to help them and he promised to give the request his immediate attention.

Mr Clarke was the Member for Eden (a two member electorate, Mr Garvan being the other member). He had a successful shipping agency and owned three ships operating from between Sydney and Melbourne. He was Member for Eden from 1869-1894 and Member for Bega from 1895 to 1904 and noted as a hard-working politician, but he, like Mr Garvan, lived in Sydney.

Mr Clarke came good and the day after the committee's meeting Mr Forbes received a telegram from the Principal Under Secretary to the effect that £1,000 would be granted in aid of the building fund of the Bega District Hospital under the usual conditions of one pound for every pound raised. Tenders to be called by advertising in the local paper and these to be closed on 10th August with the plans at the Standard office. The committee also received a letter from Mr Clarke, who personally donated £10. Others monies received in July were £10 from H Otton;  £1 from D Irving and C Allen; a guinea from E Ritchie and M Monroe; £1 from Alex Weatherhead Jnr and the first subscription noted from a woman, Mrs T Rawlinson senior, five shillings. There were a number of other people who subscribed five shillings. However this was not enough to receive the full £1,000 grant so the committee applied for an unconditional grant of £500.

There were four tenders received but no decision made on them until their application for the additional grant was known. In October 1887 Mr Clarke wrote that there was no hope for the unconditional grant, so the committee felt it needed to hurry up the collection of monies promised etc and Mr G P Rodd was appointed temporary collector. The naming of the successful tenderer was postponed for a month until Mr Rodd could report on his canvas so far and the committee would then be in a position to know what amount, including government subsidy, will be available. Messrs Bolster and Hotson's account for £25 5s was considered. The £5 5s addition was for the second plan lodged with the Health Board, and it was decided just to forward the £20, until enquiries about the additional plan were made by the secretary.

Mr Rodd, was to start his duties immediately and to visit all parts of the district, giving a receipt for every amount collected, and “it is hoped that his mission may be so successful that the erection of the building can be decided on at the next meeting It is almost unnecessary to impress upon the public the claims the hospital had on them, on behalf of their less fortunate fellow creatures, and we sincerely trust that the response from those who have not already subscribed will be liberal to a degree. We would suggest that the committee might begin by fencing in the site and planting it with shrubs and trees by which, in time, the grounds might be ornamental”.

On the 19th October it was decided to accept the lowest tender for the erection of the building, that of Mr John Malcolm, for £1,675. Arrangements were entered into with him for the necessary bond and the completion of the building within twelve months from the date of the contract being signed, under a penalty for each week exceeding that time. Messrs Harrison, Scott, Connelly, Cowdrey and Underhill were appointed a sub-committee to superintend erection of the building, and Mr George Chigney undertook the position of clerk of works at a remuneration of £50.

John Malcolm was a Scot and, at 16 was apprenticed to Messrs Leech and Sons, the proprietors of a large carpentry and joinery in Fifeshire. Five years later he moved to Dundee and followed his trade there for six years. In 1856 he sailed to Australia and worked both in Melbourne and Warrnambool. Attracted by the Kiandra gold field rush he visited Eden in 1860, where he and another obtained a contract for the erection of the lighthouse and the harbourmaster's quarters, which were very satisfactorily executed. In 1862 Mr Malcolm gained a number of government contracts, including the watchhouse and police station at Nimmitybelle, and the next year he completed the Cooma gaol and court house, and in 1865 the Bega court house and gaol, and later the post and telegraph station there, and he decided to settle in the town.

At a meeting in early November Mr Rodd told the committee he had collected £79 6s 6d and had promises of £20 more, and there were still some parts of the district to be canvassed. It was decided to extend the terms of collection for a month. The architects who had sent in a further bill of £5 5s now told the committee that money would be a donation from them. Messrs Bland, Scott and Forbes were appointed a sub-committee to deal with the matter of the amount of surety to be found by the contractor, and to have contract and bond completed in due course. Mr Malcolm was to commence operations as soon as the contract was signed.

The land trustees, the committee, honorary medical officers and Mr Malcolm arranged to meet on the Bega Permanent Common on 24th November to fix the position of the building.

In December Mr Malcolm had already commenced work on the ground and was getting ready the materials for the foundations which are to composed of concrete. The 1st February, 1888, Bega Standard reported that when the government grant is received there will be a good round sum of money on hand for the building. The total amount from all sources since the first movement some years ago is £668 8s 1d. Expenditure to date is £64 6s 3d.

If the well-to-do people of the district recognise the fact that their less fortunate fellows have any claim upon them, they will not slide into background shadow, but come forward in the manner of all civilised communities, and by their presence and sympathy support an institution which has been recognised worldwide over, as one of the noblest in ameliorating the suffering of the unfortunate and helpless. By early February an extension of the hospital site to the Candelo Road was to be surveyed. The foundation is now in and a supply of mortar is ready to go on the brick work as soon as the bricks are ready, which will be in a few days. There were also several loads of timber on the ground, which had been cleared, and made ready for building operations.

In his book on the history of brick making in the district, Ron Stafford wrote that in those days with primitive transport and poor roads it was common for the brick maker to make bricks on site or near to the site. This required an on-site inspection with the builder. The first step was to prospect for suitable clay, next was a source of wood to burn the bricks. Sand was needed to mould the bricks and water to soak the clay. The plant with shovels, crowbars, wheelbarrows etc would be loaded onto a wagon and the journey to the site would commence. On site a pig mill would be constructed, the clay would be dug out and hacks needed to dry the soft bricks and a kiln would be built from green (unburnt) bricks. Brick moulds were made by a Sydney firm and a skilled moulder could mould 800 bricks a day. After moulding, each soft brick was taken from the mould and gently placed on a board on a long wheelbarrow called an “off bearing” barrow. These specially built barrows held 40 green bricks which were then wheeled to the drying hacks. A hack was constructed by building two parallel drains about three feet. After a day or so, when the first row of bricks had dried sufficiently, further rows were added until a maximum of seven rows were reached. During the drying period the green bricks had to be covered against rain with long blankets made by sewing sacks together with hacking needless and twine. After the bricks were dried, they were wheeled to the kiln site.

Early April, £275 was paid to Mr Malcolm and about £490 was in hand with no word about the Government subsidy. The building committee visited the site with medical officers and the sites for the infectious ward and outbuildings were decided on. The building was rapidly assuming a tangible form. In May a letter was received from the Colonial Secretary stating that £608 8s 1d had been forwarded to the Colonial Treasurer to the credit of the institution.

The Member for Eden, Mr Clarke let the committee know in July that a special vote of £500 had been passed in aid of the hospital. Meantime Mr Malcolm was making good progress.

By September it was becoming increasingly hard to raise funds locally due to the drought, the worst ever experienced, with farmers hand feeding stock and the young stock dying, However while the townsfolk were praying for rain, there was also talk of getting up a ball to raise funds before the weather became too warm. Probably because of lack of funds in October the building committee decided not to paint the building now, as it could be done any time afterwards. Mr Malcolm was making good headway and expected to have the building complete within the contract time.

The Bega Standard of the 13th October, reported on the fencing.

It was decided to enclose the whole grounds, the paddocks with a two-rail fence, and the land surrounding the building, embracing an area of about two acres, with a sawn paling fence, six feet high on the east, south and west sides, and a sawn batten fence on the north side. The latter enclosure will be used for gardening purposes, and when it is planted with trees will improve the appearance of the building. The paddock containing about ten acres will be used for depasturing stock in connection with the institution.

Mr Malcolm was making rapid progress and it would not be long before he put the finishing touches to the building and in early January, 1889, he reported that the stove had arrived and the building was completed and the committee was to send a man to take over the site. Tenders for insurance were put out. A week later Mr McCaffery was appointed as temporary caretaker at £2 a week. Mr Malcolm was paid £200 but his request for £235 for extras was put aside for further examination. The kitchen range cost £17 6s 6d. A couple of weeks later Mr Malcolm received a reduced sum for extras – £77 13s 4d.

In February there was a new committee with Mr C T Stiles as president; vice president, Manby and Braine re-elected joint secretaries. Braine suggested they engage a paid secretary, which would have to be done some time, as the success of such an institution depended on a secretary and the work was too hard to expect any resident to do gratuitously. However the conduct of the caretaker, Mr McCaffery, was noticed by several of the committee, complaints being made that he had absented himself from his work. He had been engaged to be at the institution and to look after it day and night, but as he had not done so, it was resolved that someone else be appointed in his stead.

A ground improvement committee consisting of Messrs Connelly, Underhill, Cowdrey and Stiles was appointed. Re the contractor's claim for extras, as Mr Farr, the inspector of public buildings was in the district, it was decided to get his opinion of it, and accompanied by several members of the committee he went out and inspected the work yesterday, so it is likely a settlement will soon be arrived at. Mr Chidgey's account for £50 to supervise the work was allowed to stand over. Messrs Connelly, Cowdrey, Stiles and Scott were appointed a committee to set about furnishing the building at once, and they will call on the advice of medical officers.

In February a Grand Ball to be held at the Lyceum Hall on Wednesday, 13th March, was announced, and co-operation for assistance from everyone in the district was solicited. Donations of edibles were requested. A double ticket cost a guinea and a single 12 shillings and sixpence.

The insurance of the building was completed in March and Mr Malcolm agreed to a settlement of his account for extras as proposed by the committee. Mr and Mrs Clarke were appointed as caretakers. Medical officers spoke well of them. The furnishing committee gave its report and were instructed to purchase the necessary furnishings.

A report of the ball said “it was attended by 150 persons, sexes being evenly represented. A number of strangers, visiting the show, were present. The hall was tastefully decorated and looked quite homely. Music was supplied by violin, cornet and piano. The dresses were generally very beautiful and some very rich costumes were worn. The honour of belle of the ball was accorded a district lady in straw coloured material trimmed with claret velvet. Supper was served in the annexe and was a credit to the caterer, Mr Settle. Dancing was kept up till four in the morning. The general verdict being that the ball was one of the most enjoyable held in Bega”.

The Bega Standard, 13th April, reported that “Mr R L Tooth, donor of £100, the largest amount subscribed by any individual, is about to pay a visit to the district and will be here from the 15th to the 24th. Hearing this, the committee met to arrange for a formal opening of the institution, and it was decided it would be formally opened on Thursday afternoon, at half past three, with a little ceremony. The committee, medical officers, trustees, subscribers and intending subscribers are invited to be present. Thursday was chosen for the ceremony as the Easter holiday starts on Friday, and from that day till Mr Tooth's departure, many of the residents will be away holiday making. The building committee have been busy for some time arranging for the innumerable articles required ready for occupation, and everything is advanced sufficiently to enable the building to be used for the relief of the afflicted.”

Chapter 3