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Gloucester House

bookmarkCategory: RPA Historical Walking Tour
feed Stop: 4
location_on Location: Gloucester House (off Gloucester House Drive)


Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Gloucester House, ca. 1936

Gloucester House was first opened on 25 August 1936, on the initiative of Sir Herbert Schlink, physician and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and Admiral Sir Murray Anderson, the newly appointed NSW Governor. It was the first of the hospital's many Stephenson, Meldrum, and Turner buildings, and was the first Intermediate Hospital (public/private) connected to a public hospital in NSW. 

Museum Walking Tour
RPA Image: Gloucester House Four Person Ward, ca. 1942

Named after the Duke of Gloucester, Gloucester House is a fine example of the functionalist style of 1930s architecture. With five floors, laid out in an ‘L’ plan, this building once held 151 beds between shared wards and 18 private rooms. Before the 1998 redevelopment, Gloucester House was connected to D-Block pavilion and featured novel amenities and patient services, private telephones, radio, a stenographer, a hairdresser, barber salon, dietician and flower shop. Cast bronze dedication plates are set in the flanking walls of the Entrance Porch, surrounded by Hawkesbury stones, and the original terrazzo flooring can be seen through the art-deco style front door. In 2023 an Innovation Hub was added to the top floor, and a suspended walkway will connect the newly renovated building to the new Sydney Biomedical Accelerator shared by the University of Sydney.

All the flowers had to be removed at night on the flower trolley. They were brought to the flower room to have their water changed. Heaven forbid you delivered the wrong flowers back to a patient in the morning.

Sister Bev Miford, 1960s


Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: D Block Pavilion (left) and Gloucester House (right), ca. 1936.

'In the courtyard by Gloucester was once a playground with a tyre tunnel. Like a rabbit, I would dart around it, a speedster in this strange, slowed twilight world. Overlooking the garden is a kind Jacaranda tree with beautiful lavender flowers. Mum and Dad had just bought our new home up the mountains, so on that day in 1996, Dad took three seeds from the Jacaranda tree and planted them throughout our new yard. Returning to the hospital without anyone here feels so odd. Hospitals are places we usually only visit for the people inside. Still, today I am not here to revere in Grandad's stories or bring him the paper for Grandma, as I have done countless times over my years. Today I want to see that Jacaranda tree.'

Alexander Clark, 2012

Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Gloucester House Nurse Training Room, ca. 1935

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