6 The Hospitals

42. Keba (116 Abelard St)

Built by Harold Eustace Woodman, a decorated veteran of Gallipoli and France, from 1930 to the 1950s Keba was a private hospital. Hidden from the casual observer is the fact that the main fabric of this house is pre-cast concrete slabs, with tongue & groove edges. The slabs appear to have been hoisted up using an A-frame and an old mangle as a winch. A full photographic record of its construction has also been preserved in a parcel of photos hidden in the cellar of Keba and discovered in the 1960s by curious children.

43. Cottage Hospital (Hospital Hill Rd)

The cottage hospital was built in 1892 for £849 with community funds at a time when the population of the town was 836 people. Community support provided the hospital with linen and food, and local doctors the medical requirements. Patients who could afford it were charged £1 a week and doctors received £1.11.6. In 1916, the doctors agreed to receive a reduction to £1 a week. At one point only married women were allowed to use the hospital for ‘lying in’. From a peak of 35 beds the hospital has been reduced to 15 beds.

44. Oomabah (63 Mary St)

This Victorian Rustic Gothic home was constructed in 1893. By 1906 it housed Durham College, a private boarding school that in 1909 was reported to be the only college in NSW that had its own horse troop. From around 1923 it became a private maternity hospital until 1957, after which Dungog Hospital’s maternity wing was the place to be born. Many Dungogites, including Doug Walters were born here. 

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