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Unveiling of the Waranga Health Wall Memorial

Rushworth commemorated a significant chapter in its town history with the recent unveiling of the Waranga Health Wall Memorial.

The unveiling, on Friday December 8, took place at Waranga Health, as community members gathered to reminisce on the past.

The Memorial stands as a testament to the evolution of the hospital in the region, marking the transition from the early Waranga Memorial Hospital to the modern Waranga Health.

The journey of Waranga Health began in 1933 when Rushworth’s first health service, a Bush Nursing Hospital, opened its doors on Esmonde Street.

However, the aftermath of World War II and subsequent soldier settlement highlighted the need for a more accessible public hospital.

The dream of the Waranga Memorial Hospital was conceived in 1945 and took shape in 1961 with the inauguration of a 12-bed facility on Coyle Street, offering acute services and midwifery.

Over the years, the hospital expanded to meet the growing demands of the community.

A nursing home with four beds was added in 1981, six more beds then followed in 1985 and the evolution continued with the opening of a 30-bed aged care hostel on High Street in 1996.

In 2019, the hospital shifted to the hostel site, incorporating additional aged care beds, while the Coyle Street facility was closed.

Preserving the heritage of the old facility, the Waranga Health Wall Memorial was constructed using bricks saved from the demolished Coyle Street building.

Member of the Waranga Health Reference Group and advocate for the Memorial Wall, Cass Alexander, said the creation of the wall serves as a poignant link to the past, incorporating the rich history and community spirit that defined healthcare in Rushworth.

“The wall is lit up for 24 hours in the day, so that is a constant memorial to the old hospital.

“Because of the different brick colour to the hospital, it stands out and has an immediate presence, whilst also complimenting the War Memorial further down High Street,” said Mr Alexander.

Goulburn Valley Health Project Manager, Brendan Redding said the enthusiasm from the community has been notable.

“When it was being put together, community members were stopping at the site and saying ‘we know those bricks’ because they are so distinguishable.

“When you’re building something new from scratch it has very little meaning whereas this memorial has significant meaning to a lot of people because it resembles the old and the new and the rich history of not only the health service but also the community,” he said.