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Administration Building

bookmarkCategory: RPA Historical Walking Tour
feed Stop: 1
location_on Location: Outside RPA Main Building Entrance (off Missenden Road)


Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: RPA Stonemasons at work, 1876

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s heritage listed Administration Building was one of the first buildings on the hospital campus and has undergone several transformations since it was opened in 1882. The first sections of the then named Prince Alfred Memorial Hospital took six years to construct with many artisans and tradesmen employed during construction. Sandstone blocks as seen here were quarried from the nearby suburb of Pyrmont. 

When complete the Victorian Free Classical style building would be four storeys high finished with an imposing façade of cream and red brick, sandstone embellishments and grey granite columns. The original stained-glass windows are still in position today.

Within this beautiful building you will find busts of people influential in the hospital’s history, including a bust of Florence Nightingale which was relocated from the Queen Mary Nurses’ Home in 2005. Nightingale was the founder of the renowned Nightingale Nurses, and Nightingale Ward style.

Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Prince Alfred Hospital Administration Block, ca. 1885

Prince Alfred Hospital was officially opened on 25 September 1882, with 142 beds available to the public. In addition to administrative offices and quarters for medical and nursing staff, this building originally housed the medical library, the outpatient department, a dispensary, a chapel, a waiting room for patients requesting admission or their visitors, and two beds for accident cases.

Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Alfred Robers Operating Theatre, ca. 1900

The Alfred Roberts Operating Theatre in the Princes Block located to the rear of the Administration Building (now demolished and replaced by the Edinburgh Block) opened in 1887 and was the first formal operating theatre at Prince Alfred Hospital. By 1900 the hospital had adopted the new practice of performing surgery under aseptic conditions greatly reducing the risk of infection.

Dr Foreman washed hands in acetic acid and Chloride of Lime solution before operation and then with acetic acid and Sodium Bicarb solution after the operation. He wore a long coat, cap and apron with bib, and his hands were never dried.

Staff Nurse Fanny Lowe, age 26, 1900

The doctor sitting by the patient’s head in the image has anaesthetised them by sprinkling chloroform onto a wire and linen mask held over the mouth and nose. Visit the RPA Museum to see one of these masks.

Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Prince Alfred Hospital Ambulance Service, ca. 1897

Prince Alfred Hospital had an ambulance service from 1884 until 1907. Mr Alexander Wilson (pictured) with nurse was employed as ambulance porter working from 6am-6pm transporting patients to and from the hospital.

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