Friends of Old Bega Hospital Newsletter 2 October 2021


The Old Bega Hospital is open again for business, after a short closure for Covid. Please check in using the QR codes pasted up around the site, and follow any other current instructions, e.g. masks indoors.

Progress with rebuilding

Progress with rebuilding has slowed. The Reserve Land Manager ('RLM' - the community volunteer body that runs the Old Bega Hospital for Crown Lands) doesn't have enough money to complete the restoration in one go, so the restoration is going to have to be done in stages. All the work to date has been on the basis of doing it in one hit, so a whole lot of additional work has to be done to split documents and approvals into two stages, based on what can't be split (e.g. electricity upgrade, sewer connection, road work, fire services), what should not be split (e.g. the roof) and how much we can do with what money is left. Turns out that looks like getting about half the building to the point that an occupation certificate can be issued. The half we are looking at for stage 1 is the western end, and will include a meeting room, the Men's Ward, a shop or office, one or two smaller rooms, and a community kitchen. All with floors, doors, windows, light and power. Things likely to be cut are heating and cooling, parking, additional toilets, and everything in the eastern end of the building where windows and doors will just get boarded up to make it secure and weather tight.

At this stage, subject to approval by Council and the funding bodies, the RLM hopes to have a revised DA and tender documents ready sometime in October, get tenders in before Christmas, and let a contract early in 2022. Building will probably take a bit over a year to complete, Covid willing. We are really looking forward to getting a roof at long, long last - it has been a long haul.

In the meantime the RLM is applying for additional grant funding so that it can do stage 2 as well. It will likely need over a million dollars more for that, so it is no small amount.

Event cancellations

Rapidly changing Covid rules have meant we can't plan events with any certainty, so we've had to cancel this year's Trivia Night and Raise the Roof Spring Fair. Bendigo Bank is sponsoring Raise the Roof and has generously said we can hold this year's funds over to next year. A big thank you to all at Bendigo Bank and everyone who was lined up for and helping with the events.


We hope the Vegemite®cooking competition is going ahead in conjunction with the Country Women's Association, with judging in December. More details to come when they are sorted out. See to get an idea of what's in store.

Street stall and raffle

We will go ahead with a raffle again this year, with the prize drawn in time for Christmas. The Friends will run a street stall outside SportsPower in Bega's main street on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am in October, November and early December (subject to Council approval). Raffle tickets will be available on line and in person at the street stall. The street stall will also be selling T-shirts, tea towels and calico bags with Old Bega Hospital logos, all printed by the hardworking Tulgeen Team at Stitches and Prints - great for Christmas. Funds raised will go towards purchasing equipment needed for our restored Community Cultural Centre.

Help with organising events and stuff

The Events organisers are down to three people and need help. If you are available to help, especially between now and Christmas, please contact Val Little by email at or talk to her at the street stall. Help with the street stall itself will be much appreciated too.

Other progress

Crown Lands helped the Reserve Land Manger to organise an insurance claim for storm damage to the circular driveway, which was becoming impassable. The insurance assessor talked to R D Miller and agreed on a scope of works. R D Miller got the earthworks done before a Covid lockdown brought things to a halt, then did two coats of bitumen and gravel to finish things off. The driveway is as good as new, an excellent result.

The RLM applied for Crown Lands grants for a second time to replace the rusting corrugated iron on the roofs of the Operating Theatre (Weavers) and Laundry (Potters) buildings. Successful this time, and both roofs were replaced by Merimbula Metal Roofing using traditional galvanised iron (not zincalume or Colorbond, which don't fit with our heritage aesthetics). Ceiling insulation also went in, and new gutters and downpipes, so the new roofs should be good and comfortable, stop leaking, and last a good long time. Thank you to all involved.

Bega Valley Shire Council provided a $500 heritage grant to help to finish reconnecting the Nurses' Quarters downpipes to the site stormwater system. Stormwater had been flowing across the driveway rather than down the pipes, so some attention was long overdue. Thank you to Thomas Houssenloge at T H Plumbing & Gasfitting Pty Ltd for doing that job.

A bit of history

Pat Jones, chair of the Reserve Land Manager board, and the RLM itself, have been nominated for a community award. Pat got a write up in the Bega District News:

News from the Bega Valley Textile Group

You might think that the Covid lockdown caused the Textile Group to enter the realms of idleness, but not so. Although the dreaded lurgy kept us at home for a period, all have been beavering away at their chosen crafts. A mooted exhibition to be held in the Lazy Lizard Gallery in Cobargo has been postponed to December: it is keeping our thoughts and hands focused and busy. There are plans afoot for three workshops to be held for Quaama folk affected by the 2019‑20 fires. A mosaic crocheting day was also postponed. There is an indigo dyeing day planned for late January or early February and then a scarf weaving day pencilled in for the start of winter 2022. There were also some pretty grand plans for the Raise the Roof spring fair, but those got cancelled.

Parts of this year have not been much fun, but we of the fibre brigade are very grateful for our crafting interests and the support of the other members of the group. Isolation is not something unpleasant when there are so many supportive members willing and able to help with crafting problems and ideas.

More about the group at Meetings at the Old Bega Hospital have resumed and new faces are always welcome.


The Friends annual general meeting is due fairly soon. We'll send out an official notice of meeting with an agenda and the financial report when we've sorted out Covid and a date. Something to look forward to!

Thank you to Gordon Beattie for producing the Friends newsletter for the last two years. Thanks also to the University of Wollongong, Bega campus and to Andrew Constance's Bega office for help with printing.

All the best

Richard Bomford

Friends of the Old Bega Hospital Inc