Photos of the Old Bega Hospital 2017

This page has a set of photos of the Old Bega Hospital main building taken in October 2017 in part to document the state of the building at that time. Because the building interior is a demolition site, public access is limited to escorted visitors, and many people will only have seen what is visible through the security fence. The interior was cleaned up after the fire, and now presents a patina in part from the original finishes, in part from the fire, and in part from subsequent exposure to the elements. The loss of render from the walls in places has exposed the underlying brickwork, which tells its own tale of episodes of construction and reconstruction to meet changing needs.

Click on the small images to see a larger version (typically around 0.5 MB).

Steel electrical conduit was cut unceremoniously into the bricks and render.

Fireplaces. The chimneys, bar one, survive.

The verandah outside the men's ward, at the northwest corner of the building.

Fencing excludes public access.

The building has two main axes, north-south and east-west. This is the east-west axis looking west, from the women's ward through the centre of the building to the men's ward.

  The shorter, more minor, north-south axis looking north to what was the main entry. It lacks the arches of the east west axis, but has a fine prospect, now obscured by vegetation, across Bega to Biamanga, Mumbulla Mountain. The southern end of the axis was the service entry, going out to the laundry, operating theatre, morgue and kitchen.

Detail of the corners of the intersection of the N-S and E-W axes: the corner brickwork was protected by timber, almost totally burnt out in the fire. There were cornices at picture rail level.

Ceilings were generally 4.5m above the floor. High level small windows provided light and ventilation.

Remains of tiles above a basin, and a built in bookshelf in the matron's office.

The matron's office had a large, north facing bow window, and an ornate tiled floor.

Door to the matron's office from the men's ward verandah, decorated to reflect its later use for family day care.

A good deal of the render has peeled off after the fire. What remains has rather wonderful patinas from fire and weather. Which raises the question of whether it should be retained as is, like walls of a Greek or Roman ruin, or restored. What looks wonderful in the full light of day may be less wonderful under a roof, or might be great raw material for a lighting expert.

Spiders have a fine life in sheltered corners.

Weather has taken its toll on softwood flooring. The verandahs and part of a corridor have hardwood flooring, which has fared much better. Skirting boards are rather larger than their modern equivalents. The green paint is from the 1988 restoration, or perhaps later.

Parts of the less fire damaged eastern end of the building.

Some upper level windows had transfer patterns on the inside. Most glass in the building is damaged.

Toilets are utilitarian.

Evidence of the 1988 restoration: heritage colours. Loss of the roof has allowed a couple of arches to spread, requiring props for the time being.

Parts of the ground under the floors have been covered with bitumen, probably to help manage damp. In most areas exposure to the elements has allowed vegetation to grow through it.

Lights, telephones and plumbing reflect varying generations of services.

  The roof structures make stark contrasts with the blue sky.

Some vegetation has grown to the point that it threatens the brickwork and will have to be removed.

Window between the women's ward and its adjacent verandah.

  Patterns of fire and weather on internal and external surfaces. One architect suggested a glass roof to highlight the vibrancy and changing patterns of light and colour.

  Arches form stark curves against the sky. Bricklayers' art is displayed beneath the render.

Render has detached in random patterns. It would be great to keep them: stabilising the loose sheets presents a technical challenge.

Brooding blackbird and streaking fairy wren enjoying quiet spaces away from public gaze.

The original architects made good use of tall narrow windows and openings. Bricks maintain a precarious hold.

The east=west axis looking east, from the men's ward to the women's ward.

Safety directions didn't save the building.

    There is more than one generation of door openings.

  In some cases, new doors have been hammered through the brick, and older doors are regognisable only by arches in the brickwork exposed when the render has flaked off.

Chimneys are a feature of the building's skyline. All but one have survived, and the one that is missing is thought to have gone long before the 2004 fire.

The arches theme extended to the verandahs, where cast iron inserts filled corners between posts and beams. See photo Two women with boy for the original look.

There are several generations of bricks in the building. Sections through the oldest show how they were made.

Fire got into the roof at the western end of the building, but was extinguished before the roof collapsed. Electrical wiring has been cut short.

Upper level windows provided light and ventilation. They were operated by long handled winders.

Generations of brickwork. Slate is used as a damp proof course in older brickwork. Joins between generations are often less than subtle. A section of hardwood flooring has survived both the fire and the weather.

  Generations of doorways. Lintels include brick arches, timber beams and steel sections.

Toilet roll holder installed as part of the 2017 toilets project.

Historic photos: