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Repatriation General Hospital Museum

Home > Adelaide > ANZAC Day | Exhibitions | Free | Museums | Remembrance Day
by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published October 12th 2014
A treasure of memorabilia
The Repatriation General Hospital Museum is housed in a small building set in amongst the sprawling site of the General Hospital. It houses an eclectic collection of military and hospital memorabilia. The memorabilia relates to the hospital's history as well as both world wars and other major conflicts.

Repatriation General Hospital Museum
Repatriation General Hospital Museum
Memorabilia on display

There are uniforms from nursing and military personnel. Army records and photographs, badges, embroidery, a weaving loom, medals, documentation, souvenirs and artwork.



One cabinet displays a collection of bugles, which will bring back many memories for some. While reflecting on these bugles, which have been preserved, I recalled a section in Richard Flanagan's award winning novel 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'. There is a most poignant moment when a bugle and all its stories and history seem to be forgotten.

Bugles on display
Bugles on display


The museum also has several pieces connected to Prisoners of War including from the Thailand Burma railway and Changi Prison. Having been to the museum several times to visit there is always new details to discover. The volunteer and guide is most welcoming and helpful with any information.

Heritage medical equipment
Heritage medical equipment


Heritage medical equipment

Not being a big fan of medical equipment this area is not one I would focus on. Never the less it has been preserved here. This being the site of a veteran's hospital there is much vintage medical equipment collected, much of it still in working order. The curator is hoping that the museum will be able to showcase different memorabilia in separate sections to better enhance the collection.

Heritage medical equipment
Heritage medical equipment


The museum also has a reference library and archive, which includes historic photographs, diaries, maps and other documents.



The museum currently has a bit of a haphazard feel about it. One of the volunteers and curator informed me that they are waiting for new display cases. The plan is for the story of many of the items to be recorded and displayed with the item. If these stories are not told soon they will be lost. For example there is a musical organ in a small wooden case as the visitor walks in. Where was this used and who played it?

The old organ
The old organ


There are so many stories here, all waiting to be told. Many of the older generation are excellent historians, but many also prefer to leave their war years behind them.

Knives and bayonets on display
Knives and bayonets on display


History of the museum

The museum opened in 1992 on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Repatriation General Hospital in Daw Park, and was originally based in the hospital post office. This was a corrugated iron building, as were many of the original buildings on the site. Images of the old post office building and other memorabilia can be seen here The museum was established by David Ennis, and his late wife Maxine.



During World War II, the hospital was the Adelaide Military Hospital 105. The army camp and hospital were set up on part of Cudmore Farm on Daws Road. From 1947-1995, the hospital was under the control of the Repatriation Commission.



History is what gets left behind, the artefacts of the times. Stories get jumbled and relegated for others to remember. A small piece of our past has been gathered here. It is worth exploring an era before the digital and technology boom. Take a wander in times past.



Enter via Daws Road entrance, the museum is just past the Repat op shop.

Opening hours
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 12 noon - 2 pm
Entry is free but a donation is appreciated.
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Why? Take a wander in times past.
When: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 12 noon - 2 pm
Phone: 08 8275 1647
Where: Repatriation General Hospital Museum 216 Daws Road‎ DAW PARK 5041
Cost: Entry is free but a donation is appreciated.
Your Comment
Wow!
As a student speech pathologist, I have always wanted to get a placement there, and your article has only heightened my desire to check out the Repat! :)
by Tema (score: 2|825) 1739 days ago
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