Lyn Smith OAM is a former nurse at Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay. Coming from country NSW, she was used to seeing infectious diseases in livestock, so when her nursing training commenced at Prince Henry’s infectious diseases hospital in 1955, this aspect of the work didn’t faze her. Lyn stayed on nursing at the hospital until 1959, and after that remained in close contact. Even after the hospital’s closure in 2003, Lyn continued her involvement when it became a museum. Having such a long association with this hospital, there is very little that Lyn doesn’t know about it.
Still living in the Randwick area, Lyn spends much of her free time preserving the memory of this State Heritage complex.
About this episode
In episode 2, Lyn Smith OAM shares her recollections of her training and nursing days at Prince Henry Hospital in Little Bay from 1955 to 1959. She takes us through a routine day as a nurse during that time and shares her knowledge of the early history of the hospital from 1881. Formerly known as the Coast Hospital, it was set up to quarantine patients who had infectious diseases including smallpox, whooping cough, polio, leprosy and tuberculosis.
Duration: 49min 54sec
Early days at the Coast Hospital. Accessed 26th May 2020. Prince Henry Community website article.
Prince Henry Hospital - an historical timeline 1881-2003. Accessed 26th May 2020. Prince Henry Community website article.
Prince Henry Hospital Nursing and Medical Museum. Accessed 26th May 2020. Museum website.
RANDWICK LOCAL LEGENDS, EPISODE 2, LYN SMITH OAM
Chelsea Hunter: Hi, you're listening to local legends, the podcast that explores the history of Randwick City through the recollections of locals who know and love the area. I'm Chelsea Hunter. And with me is Lyn Smith OAM, who was a nurse at the Prince Henry hospital from 1955 to 1959. Thank you for joining me.
Lyn Smith: Thank you.
Chelsea Hunter: The hospital, it’s now known as Prince Henry Hospital, but it was originally opened as the Coast Hospital in 1881 to cope with the smallpox plague that was sweeping through Sydney, and it was built away from the city in order to quarantine sufferers and sadly also includes a cemetery for any patients that died of the disease. Now, this was a smart move, wasn't it to isolate the hospital from the city.
Lyn Smith: It was always meant to be an isolation unit because of the gravity of the infections that were coming in. Apart from the fact that we already in Sydney as a community, we already had infectious diseases, but this was coming in from Southeast Asia as smallpox.
So, it needed lots of space and lots of area in which to cope with the influx of people. And the influx of people were not so much the patients with smallpox but the families of the people with smallpox.
Chelsea Hunter: So, they would join the patients, would they?
Lyn Smith: Yes, they came in on ships from Southeast Asia, the ships would anchor off the foreshores of Little Bay. The families would be rowed ashore in longboats and landed on the sand, which is where there were tents set up as accommodation.
Chelsea Hunter: Okay, so it started out as a bit of a tent city.
Lyn Smith: It was the original tent city.
Chelsea Hunter: So as the smallpox plague continued, and other infectious diseases also started to enter into Sydney, the hospital then grew and became a timber and corrugated iron building. How did it change and grow over the first few decades?
Lyn Smith: I think we need to go back to the beginning. Because of the influx of smallpox coming in, and the normal infectious diseases of the city of Sydney on the sixth of August 1881, the New South Wales Government allocated 500 acres of land to be set aside as an isolation area.
The first residents to come ashore were the families of the smallpox victims and they started arriving on the sixth of September 1881. During the course of the next few weeks into the next couple of months, there was very minimal smallpox, but there were other illnesses and the children had their childhood illnesses: measles; mumps; whooping cough. So, the New South Wales Government decided that they would formalise a hospital, so on the sixth of December 1881, it was named the Coast Hospital. The first matron was appointed on the fourth of December 1881, Miss Mary Meyler, and Mary was very capable because she had worked at the quarantine station at North Head.
The hospital started, the development of the hospital as it was, corrugated wood, iron, whatever could stand up because was it was tremendously windy as it was right on the southern tip of the land. So, all the southerlies coming up. The hospital started growing on top of the escarpment, and gradually, incrementally went from the foreshores up the hill and slightly to the rise.
The buildings around that period of time were very modest, typical old country style houses, but one of the things that happened was that in 1886, the Norfolk Island Pines were planted as a beautification for the Princes Henry at the Coast site, because the Norfolk Island Pine is salt tolerant, and so it not only beautified the land, it also provided shelter.
Through the land itself, of the 500 acres that the hospital was given was a lot of fresh water. So, workers built dams, and stored the water and that was the only water available for the growing hospital.
But also, the ornamental lakes had floating gardens in them, there's photos in the museum of nurses punting on the lakes and they were some of the recreational things that happened by storing the water.
But one of the other major things was also to the original laundry and the original mortuary drew water from those dammed areas. So that sort of brings in that first beginning of the land mass and the growth, and we always thought that the front door was actually facing Little Bay.
Talking of buildings. One of the other things is that all establishments have is a bell and a clock tower, and it's within the early part of the hospital. The first clock tower was built, of a big square obelisk and the lower part of the clock tower was coated with corrugated iron but if you look at photos you will see around each side, vents. The tower was the meat safe. It was also where they smoked meat for preservation. The clock was on the top and on very top was the bell.
Now the bell was the call to arms, and basically what happened there, and all hospitals had them. No such thing as telephones in those days. That in the case of an emergency, the bell would be rung, so that as soon as anyone heard it, they knew where to assemble. The clock tower was in that very beginning section of the site.
Chelsea Hunter: Sounds like the site was trying to be kept as self-contained and as self-sufficient as possible would that be accurate?
Lyn Smith: It was, and to be self-sufficient the hospital had bob-a-day men. They were gentlemen that were seconded from the western suburbs to the Coast Hospital to develop a dairy farm, a poultry farm and a vegetable garden.
Chelsea Hunter: Tell me what some of the techniques that were used in treating the patients and containing the diseases then.
Lyn Smith: In the very early days, the treatment basically was to make patients comfortable, to keep them clean and well fed, hydrated, all the things that we even today do when somebody is not feeling well, but there wasn't a lot of medications available, but what was available was given. There's lots of early sulphonamides and drugs that are basically no longer used. But I think, one of the things was that, isolating them meant the disease didn’t spread, it was able to be contained, but it was cured a lot quicker because it was all kept together. And the staff worked together as a team so that everything was consolidated in one place.
Chelsea Hunter: And how was staff protected from these infectious diseases?
Lyn Smith: In the very early days, there wasn't a lot that could be done. But from probably the late 20s, early 30s vaccinations came in, and every member of staff employed at the Coast Hospital was immediately inoculated against everything that was available at the time. And let me tell you, you went around saying “Oh, don't touch my arm, or Please don't” because they were very painful. But right from the beginning, every single staff member and it included doctors, all the allied health professionals that were available, we were all vaccinated. So, when we talk about vaccination, it goes back that far. Plus, the fact that in the old days, washing hands was always going to be a big factor. We didn't have masks as such except in epidemic plague periods, where we had to have covers on our faces, but for the most part it was learning to be protective.
But washing your hands nurse, “wash your hands, nurse’, and we did. In those days too it wasn't just washing your hands with soap, we use a chemical called Lysol and Lysol was black and you had stains up your arm, but it was a very effective antiseptic, so it did the job. But primarily being vaccinated allowed us to be able to cope with minor sniffles and things that we would get as a result of just being in that area.
Chelsea Hunter: Now you started working at the Prince Henry Hospital in 1955. Did it make you nervous as a young nurse to be working in such close proximity to such highly contagious diseases?
Lyn Smith: I don't think it ever occurred to me. I was a country girl. I was used to seeing bugs and beetles and infections in livestock and things like that. You just got and treated, them. No, it never ever fazed me.
Chelsea Hunter: You're a very brave woman. Now the hospital was actually renamed the Prince Henry Hospital in 1934 to honour the visit of Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester. Did he actually ever visit the hospital?
Lyn Smith: No, unfortunately, when the name change was gazetted the due process from Australia was that the government notified the British government, the British government contacted the monarch for permission to have this name change. And it was at the time when Prince Henry was due to come out as a royal visitor. And to commemorate that the Coast hospital was selected to be the name change for the Prince Henry Hospital in 1934. Now, Prince Henry didn't come out to visit at that time, nor did he come out when he was Governor General.
But it's like everything else, they’ve got limited time, same as everybody else. So, it was one of those things. It was always a little snide remark. It took a wee while for the general populace to accept the name change but by the same token, we were still classified as colonial stock, so it was one of those things. I must add, I might say that to honour Prince Henry, the hospital made sure that his name was perpetuated in many fields of nursing, medicine and allied health professionals.
Chelsea Hunter: Now there was a group of leprosy sufferers who were put in huts in the south of Little Bay. What can you tell me about that?
Lyn Smith: My research found that there were three Chinese gentlemen on the land around where the hospital was forming in 1868. But the first admissions to the Coast Hospital were in 1886. And it was five Chinese gentlemen. The area was off the beach in a wee (little) gully. And as time progressed with leprosy coming in, there was a division, we had females as well as males. So, there was a male leprosarium, or we called it a lazaret and the word lazaret simply means a house. So, the male lazaret was in a little gully that went up, off the beach and the female lazaret was built on top of the escarpment immediately off the beach, so that there were the two sections.
The patients in the lazarettes were nursed by men and women who were experienced carers. But the matron visited regularly, the matron of the Coast Hospital visited regularly. There was a doctor on tap all the time, but the residents became very self-sufficient, they cooked their own meals, they had their own flower gardens and vegetables and they made it a community.
With leprosy or Hansen's Disease, as it's called, because of biblical times, there was a lot of stigma attached to it. The sufferers were hidden away in caves and things, which was diabolical when you think about it, because there was nothing, no reason why they couldn't be out in the open. And the infectious period, it's a very slow, a slow developing disease, and it's not that easy to catch. For the Coast Hospital, it had an open area that was a community within, and a lot of work was done out there on research into the disease itself. And part of that research, allowed for better management and ultimately, a cure.
Chelsea Hunter: That’s Fantastic. Now what are your earliest memories of starting at the hospital in 1955?
Lynn Smith: I guess it was more the isolation, but for me the lack of trees. I grew up on the land, on a farm, I was used to trees and so forth, but out there was just a low scrub and it was there was no transport no anything.
I guess, I was like everybody else at that time we were so awed by what we were going into, that everything seemed overwhelming but, it was something that was inside me and I know that I was going to make that my life. It was really funny because the last words my father said to me when I left Cowra was, “well, if you don’t last your preliminary training school, I'll see you back on the farm.”
I got through that. I lasted six months, I still was in Sydney. And when I got through to my first year having some diabolical experiences with death and disease, Dad said,” I think you might make it”. And so that was it.
I think one of the things was, human death was something I didn't know. But death was something, I had growing up on the land and so that wasn't as terrifying as seeing people suddenly fall over with a disease that almost made them died on the spot. But one of the worst things I found was children. Not because they were children, but because I left a baby sister. And every child that I cared for was my sister. And so, in the infectious disease’s times, there was the whooping cough, there was the diphtheria and those sorts of things.
I remember once looking after a little girl of seven years of age with tetanus. Now, I knew a lot about tetanus because living on the farm, you knew what to do and what not to do. But this little girl died in my arms, and my sister was about the same age. So, there were lots of things like that.
I wanted to be able to help those last moments or to help make a better life for whoever. For me, nursing has always been, pushing the boundaries, breaking a few rules, but doing what I felt was the right thing to do.
Chelsea Hunter: I should imagine that to counterbalance all of the hard, emotional aspects of your role as a nurse, there would have been quite a sense of camaraderie between yourself and the other nurses, the admin staff that were there. Would that be accurate?
Lyn Smith: Yes. In as much as that in my nursing time, that all members of staff lived in. That was: nurses, trainee nurses, doctors, heads of departments, were all living on site all the time, so that if there was an emergency, there was always someone that was from the medical side and the pharmacist, they were there. But we all got together, and Prince Henry was still fairly well out of the reach of the nursing. So we all got together.
And we, had the friendships that resulted from the need to be able to be together, and to live together, and to dream together. And in actual fact, the girl that I started my training with, she and I are still friends to this day.
Friendships could be as enduring as we are, but it was sharing, coming off duty and saying, “I've had a (horrible) day; and do you know what they did to me today?” And it is being able to share because it wasn't only your experience, somebody else had the same thing happen.
So, you got together and you were able to work out strategies for yourself on how to cope. And the other thing was that, for me particularly, studying was hard, because my education was done by correspondence schooling. So, I didn't have the one on one instruction in my secondary education. So, when we got to studying for exams, we all got together, and we all did our studying and then had a sort of a discussion and then we could go off and do our own thing. But you became sisters, at that stage. The combination of need and experiences culminated in those formative years of the hospital.
Chelsea Hunter: And what were your accommodations like? Were you living in shared accommodation? Did you have your own space?
Lyn Smith: We were very lucky. In the very early days, they shared, but coming up from about the 1920s, all staff had their own rooms. We shared bathrooms, we shared laundries and the dining room, and recreational room were on the main floor of a nurses’ home so that you had it all together there. But as far as having your own private space, we always had our own room. Never did I share a room at Prince Henry.
Chelsea Hunter: Yeah, that would have been essential, I think, just to have some space and some time to yourself.
Lyn Smith: It was a bit hard for some people, who had come from the farm and they had brothers and sisters and they all shared and there was a period of isolation for some of them, because they weren't used to being on their own. But I remember, many a time, hearing sobbing from someone who was lonely, and I had a period of time there, just fortunately there were lots of rocks and I'm an earth person. And I could be found sitting on a rock, just staring into space. But that was my thing and that was the environment in those days as well.
Chelsea Hunter: Now tell me what did a typical day look like for yourself starting? You wake up in the morning, you've got a shift that day talk me through a typical day for yourself.
Lyn Smith: A typical day in in my time was - we worked broken shifts; we didn't have straight shifts as is the thing now.
The day started with the Junior Night Nurse coming off night duty to walk around the nurses’ ward banging on doors, “five o'clock nurse”, so that was set.
The starting time was six o’clock, but the very junior nurse had to go on at 5:30 because in those days there was no such thing as sliced bread. She had to cut the loaves of bread which, I might add, were baked at Long Bay Gaol. We not only had to cut the bread; hope to goodness that the night nurse had kept the butter out of the fridge so that we could butter the bread. We had to set the trolleys for the cutlery and china and so forth.
And we had to be ready to start sponging the patients at 6am. Sponging was done, and in those days, not too many people went to the bathroom because in those days bedrest was a lot longer than it is today. So you whipped around and you bought out bowls of water, and teeth mugs for cleaning their teeth and you put ... set them up on their bed tables, and then you strip the beds and you folded them up and got the patient and then you made the beds up again. And you had to be finished by seven o'clock. Now in my time out there, the Hill Wards, which were then by the front gate, and there were 20 patients in one end and 20 patients the other so the nurses, so there was a total of three nurses on each end, and you had to care for 20 patients and have them ready for breakfast at 7am.
Chelsea Hunter: That’s a lot of caring in an hour. How did you manage that?
Lyn Smith: We did, because right from the beginning, it was such a thing, even then, as time management, but that was what you had to do. And that was all there was to it.
Then the kitchen sent up the trolley with the porridge and things, but eggs were cooked in what we called the day room or the side room. We had Aga coke-burning stoves that were on 24 hours a day so that the cauldron for the poached eggs or boiled eggs was always on, the water was boiling to the point so that when it was time for breakfast, all the eggs were put in and that was that, but porridge came up so we were okay with that. Warm milk, we had big enamel jugs which sat on the hob of the stove so that the milk was always warm for cereals and things like that.
Breakfast for the staff ... the nurses was, if I remember, it was either seven to seven thirty or seven thirty till eight, but it was in that, that juggling period of time. And then after that it beds ... everything had to be straightened up, it was, "Nine o'clock! Matron’s rounds!", so everything had to be spit and polished and so forth and to do that we had a bucket of water and, in my time, we had massive air lockers, wooden with a metal top. We had sandsoap, which was a block of, a composition of grit and cleansing material and the woodwork was washed and scrubbed with that and the metal was with cakes of Bon Ami soap. So you put that on, then you wiped it and you shone it so that it was shiny for matron’s rounds at nine o'clock.
After breakfast, the junior nurse had to go out to the pan room and start the pan room duties like the scrubbing. I might add, they were metal pans and things like that and they had to be washed, soaked, and scrubbed, boiled and polished. That was all in in one job.
But the first break was nine thirty to one. And the second break period was ten till two and the afternoon break period was one till three thirty. There were three separate shifts/rosters. Starting at six, you finished at six, supposedly.
If you were on the evening shift, you started at eight in the morning, and you finished at eight in the evening, and that allowed there to be nurses on duty during the visiting hours as well. Night duty started at seven o'clock at night till seven in the morning with no break.
That was it right up until the mid-sixties and then they started implementing eight hour shifts straight out. But my time was broken shift.
Chelsea Hunter: What were you doing in your free time in that case? Were you socialising with your fellow nurses? Were you staying on site? What did you do in your free time?
Lyn Smith: Well, a lot of us that came from the country, unless we had relatives in Sydney, we lived on the land all the time. We were very lucky because there was the beach. We could always find something to do. A lot of girls did embroidery and knitting. And you would do that. Perhaps a couple of you get together and you do your embroidery. We did a lot of bushwalking. I remember exploring the headland at Botany Bay on more than one occasion, but we had that that on site, camaraderie.
One of the things we were very lucky about was the hospital provided a bus for the evening. So that the first bus left Prince Henry at five thirty in the evening to go into the city if you wanted to go to dinner in town, go to a theatre in town. When the big concerts were on at the Sydney Stadium, there were two buses. There was the first one, and then there was the one that left around seven so that you could get down to the Stadium or the Town Hall. Or if you were going dancing at the Trocadero and the various dance halls. And the first bus left the city at ten thirty pm for the ones that only just sort of had an evening out. And then the last bus was for the theatre goers, left Taylor Square around midnight.
So that was our transport. The trams were running and if you were game enough to go on the trams well, that was fine. But everybody was looking after everybody and so forth. There weren’t too many boyfriends that had cars, but in those days, you know, oh we’re going to so and so do you want to lift? And it was an automatic thing to do. A lot of embroidery, crocheting, knitting and all those sorts of things in the time and I know of one girl, she used to paint, and it was nothing to see her out painting.
Chelsea Hunter: A beautiful area to be to be painting. Now speaking of out-of-hours tales, there is a story of Gracie the ghost who haunts the hospital. Do you have any eerie or unusual stories?
Lyn Smith: We have very little knowledge of Gracie. She was at Prince Henry as a registered nurse, a sister at that time.
I have a colleague who started her training in 1948. She started in Sister (Gracie) Andrew's ward. She knows that Miss Andrews lived in Queensland. We never ever knew where she lived, where she trained or how old she was, but Yvonne worked in her ward in the polio epidemics.
She was strange, no two ways about it, but she was very devoted to the patients with poliomyelitis. Then she was still there in 1952 when Yvonne finished her training because Yvonne went back to say goodbye to her. But at that stage, the convalescent polio patients were being moved to a convalescent unit at Turramurra called Cherrywood. Now, when the patients moved over, Grace followed them to Turramurra.
A colleague and I have proof that she was registered on the 1956 and the 1958 electoral roles as being a living resident of Turramurra. So Gracie was not a ghost, I think she did have some strange behaviour that again, my experiences as a nurse, yes, I admit that I am spiritual, and I’ve had other paranormal episodes.
The Trained Nurses Association has an annual nurses’ reunion and we used to have it in the museum before it got really, really, big. And what we would do, some colleagues we'd all get together and we'd set up tables, put the chairs in, the tablecloths and get some… this particular event was that there was a male colleague and myself with the last people in there and we had set the things up. The place settings, the knife, fork and spoon were wrapped in a serviette and placed on the bread and butter plate on the side. And I was the only one with a key. I was the last to leave. I was the first to return at nine o'clock in the morning. I went into start putting the flowers on the last little bit, and all one side of one table, that was five placings - the serviettes were opened, and the knife fork and spoon were like soldiers on the plates of those five settings.
Chelsea Hunter: And how do you explain that? Why do you think such paranormal activity is located in that area?
Lyn Smith: It’s a hospital. It dealt in death. This is where stories of the ghosts come in. A lot of them are based on fact. Its people being open enough to acknowledge that there is a spiritual content, but a place of death is always going to produce it. So, it was always there. Because of the history of the Coast Prince Henry hospital, it always had a big draw card for paranormal studies. And it's true it, it's there. I must say that even now, I will go out to Prince Henry and when I walk into the museum, the first thing I'll say is “Hello, everybody, I'm here”.
Because I acknowledge that there is that presence. So, I'm proud to say, I believe.
Chelsea Hunter: Now, the hospital became a training school in 1960. And thousands of nurses, doctors and administrators were trained here and as a result, have enjoyed a great reputation throughout New South Wales and Australia. What do you think made this such an effective training hospital?
Lyn Smith: You're talking about the 1960s, which is when it became a part the faculty of medicine for the University of New South Wales. We always had a training school. The first was Miss McMaster and the training school back in 1903. She commenced the first training school for nurses. The 1960 opening was as the Faculty of Medicine for the University of New South Wales. Previously, our university students and doctors came from Sydney University.
So that's because there was only Sydney University at the time. And could I please add here, our first woman doctor graduated from Sydney University in 1897. She came to the Coast hospital as a doctor. Wasn’t treated very well because she was a female in a dominant male area. But she married a surgeon, John Hardman and left in 1903 to go on to care for children in Glebe. But that was from the University of Sydney. When we became part of the Faculty of Medicine from the University of New South Wales, the whole concept of training, and the implementation of doctors being trained in specific fields, so we became a training school for doctors and a lot of research was done.
And as a result of that, training of nurses started to change, because to accommodate the training of doctors in specialties, they wanted nurses in their specialty. So that allowed for this to happen. It didn't happen straight away. The university degree didn't come into effect until the seventies. It was still hospital-based training for nursing up until the mid-seventies. And then it started off with colleges of advanced education then went into the university degree. And that allowed the nurses then a wider range of choice of what the future lay. So, I might add that at the age of sixty, I went to university and converted my hospital-based training to a degree, to find out why there was a discrepancy in what was perceived to be the best training. I'm glad I trained when I did, but I'm glad that I understood their training better as a result of it.
Chelsea Hunter: In 1967, there was a nurses War Memorial Chapel opened next to the hospital and it was open to honour the nurses who served and died during World Wars I and II. Were you involved in this?
Lyn Smith: I was around at the time. The Prince Henry Hospital Trained Nurses Association was formed in November 1960. And the idea of it was to form an alumnus so that they could get together, and to sponsor events that would benefit nursing, and the hospital.
And one of the major projects was to honour the nurses who served during wars. So, the idea was to have a chapel. Now the chapel was not only to honour them, but it was to allow for a quiet place of contemplation for visitors, relatives, patients. They were able to be taken down this should the need arise. And in the early days that was strictly private. It wasn't something that was open to the general public.
So, to build that, the trained nurses went on a fundraising drive and all the magical things that were done in those days, fetes concerts, dinners, all those sorts of things. They raised enough money to employ an architect, and the mandate was to have something that will be a suitable memorial but within the historical confines of where we wanted it, which was on the top of the hill overlooking the sea.
That was successful. The nurses continued to raise money. I mean, we got sponsorship and so forth along the way. But the chapel was finally built and was dedicated on the 11th November 1967. It was dedicated to all nurses, not just ours, all nurses who served in World Wars I and II. So, it's a dedicated, registered war memorial.
Chelsea Hunter: That's beautiful. You’ve remained actively associated with the hospital and one of the many people who work to maintain the Nursing and Medical Museum which conserves a history and artefacts of the hospital. Why did you want to get involved in this way?
Lyn Smith: It was part of me. But it was the history. For a lot of people, it was that place out there because it was so far away.
But it wasn't just an isolation hospital. It was a research unit. Some of the biggest research and magical happenings started at Prince Henry.
Go back to the poliomyelitis. Dr. Neville Stanley was a bacteriologist/epidemiologist who lived and worked in the pathology department perfecting the Salk vaccine for poliomyelitis. He was instrumental in getting the Australian Government to immunise all children against polio. Within two years, the reduction of polio was incredible. The World Health Organization saw the advantage. And within five years, the world saw a marked decrease; and I might add, there are only two active countries in the world today with poliomyelitis, that's Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are a couple of little pockets of recovering, but they are the only two. Now think about that. 1956 and here we are 2019. And we have done it, but it was Prince Henry.
The other big factor out there. Prince Henry performed the first successful kidney transplant in New South Wales, and one of the first in Australia. The recipient of that kidney transplant was a lady who lived for thirty years with the same kidney. Magic. Then we go into the cardiothoracic area. We weren’t the first to do heart transplant, but our unit, the cardiothoracic unit was a training field for Victor Chang. We had a team ready to go, but the chief surgeon got sick.
One of the things that is in Prince Henry at the museum is the first heart bypass machine, which was manufactured in 1960. It was designed by two doctors and what they call a pump engineer. The doctors told the engineer what they wanted, he gave did the plans, and it was built at Brookvale on the northern side near Manly, but we've got one of the original ones in the museum.
Chelsea Hunter: Wow. And you've got an iron lung there too!
Lyn Smith: We've also got an iron lung, again manufactured, and designed by an Australian, Ted Both. Now there were iron lungs, but they weren't negative pressure, meaning that the pump that worked the bails, worked the machine. You didn't have to turn the machine off and go like the clappers to try and get your patient washed and changed. He designed it so that all the work for the patient was inside the canopy. There were portholes on both sides of the machine so that the nurses work, one on one side, one on the other. You washed, you change the bed linen, you did all the work and the patient was never compromised at all. He was fostered, sponsored by Lord Nuffield from Britain who got here to make six to go to the northern hemisphere.
Also, one of Ted's other major inventions was the electrocardiogram. We have one at the Nursing and Medical Museum. And it's got the word Both on it. So that’s another of magical things you'll find, you know, int the Nursing a Medical Museum.
Chelsea Hunter: Wonderful.
Now 2008 you did quite a bit of work to have Australian doctors and nurses acknowledged in the Little Bay area. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Lyn Smith: The hospital was closed in 2003. And the developers were Landcom. The streets were always there, but for us, we just knew what the streets were and if you were directing anybody it was… when you come through the gate, you go down the main road, Pine Avenue (was the only one that had a name) you go down Pine Avenue. And if you want to get toward …… it's the second on the right and the third building on the left. And they were the instructions. But when it became part of the university, they needed names. So, the names were decided during the course of the university days. When the names were selected, they chose 14 International doctors. There was not one Australian doctor, and certainly no nurses.
When Landcom took over, they decided that they would get the streets up and they would create more streets and they were looking for more names.
Now to honour the indigenous locality. And I'm going to say Aboriginal because that's what we grew up with. The Aboriginal folklore there, is humungous, absolutely humungous. There's one road on the northern perimeter of the estate called Gubbuteh. (Aboriginal word meaning Ochre, named after local ochre deposits). But the other one was a street that is runs actually in between where the hospital was and where the chapel is. And that was called Murra Murra, which is called sea mullet. Now the Aboriginal tribes of the area were fisher people. So Murra Murra fits in perfectly with it.
But when the names came up, the Trained Nurses put a bit of an issue up and Landcom at least listen to us and asked us what should have been. And then we, had letter writing and deputations to Randwick City Council asking for a review to acknowledge the land of the area. So, we were able to get some of the Australian Coast doctor’s names on and the two ladies that are named are Mary Meyler, the first matron and Jean McMaster, the first matron of The New School of Nursing. So they’re amongst all these 14 foreign names we've got. The list that was submitted by the Trained Nurses Association has been kept as a guideline for the development at the site and adding new names if need be, so that there can be that selection.
One of them came about when the land adjacent to the hospital was the university playing grounds and an area that was resumed for housing and it was called Little Bay Cove. Now, the borderline for that road is called Cawood Avenue. Dorothy Cawood was a World War Coast trained nurse, one of only seven Military Medal recipients in World War I. So, we've got a nurse as well as our matrons. At as part of, and hopefully as time goes on in this style, it will develop because the areas there for development, there is area there for living. So hopefully, we'll have a few more.
Chelsea Hunter: That's a wonderful way to acknowledge the history of the area.
Lyn Smith: Exactly, exactly. One of the other roads in the Little Bay Cove, originally was the road nearest to Little Bay Beach. And it was originally proposed to be called Christo. It was changed to Wrapped Coast Road, because Jacques Christo was the gentleman that wrapped the foreshores and the rocks in fabric in the 1960s. It’s just magic. So, in actual fact, that's the history of the wrap. It is there on a street name as well. So yes, I'm happy about that as well.
Chelsea Hunter: That's wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us. We really appreciate the time that you've spent with us.
Lyn Smith: Thank you very much.