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Arches that reflect RPA’s history of community connection to be displayed.

Historic arches restored

October 2019

Arches that reflect RPA’s history of community connection to be displayed.

Arches that reflect RPA’s history of community connection to be displayed.

We’re proud of RPA’s history.

And, now behind-the-scenes our team is working hard to restore heritage items which form a vital link to the hospital’s past.

RPA first opened its doors in 1882.

And, at the time, scores of individuals and families from the local community would often donate money to the hospital.

From 1868 through to the 1930s, the funds were used to build and furnish hospital wards.

The hospital publically recognised many of the donors.

The names of those who contributed 100 pounds or more were inscribed on marble plaques inset into a series of four ornately carved arches made of Australian cedar wood.

Records reveal that in 1906 a farmer who was visiting the city, and requested a tour of the hospital, gave “a more than modest offering of 6000 pounds.”

It’s thought that the arches were installed soon after the hospital opened.

A retired RPA employee, who now volunteers in the RPA Museum, recalls the arches were placed in a corridor between wards in one of the original hospital buildings.

They were later removed from an administration block during a hospital re-development in the late 1970s.

“They have been in storage ever since. Sadly, the inscribed marble inserts were unable to be located,” said Robert Pike who leads the District’s relocation team.

Now, in a project championed by our chief executive Dr Teresa Anderson AM, the arches are being lovingly restored by hand.

“It’s important for us to recognise and celebrate our past.

“This is an opportunity for us to showcase the significant connection RPA established with the community, who generously donated money to the hospital, in its early days. We continue to cherish the relationship with our community to this day,” Dr Anderson said.

The arches will be placed in a prominent location in the foyer of RPA’s main building to remind us all of RPA’s connections to its past.

Other heritage items – which include stained glass window from a former matron’s office at RPA hospital – are also in storage and are likely to be restored gradually over time.

RPA’s Museum, which is open to the public, was established in 1933 to collect, record and preserve the history of the hospital. It features displays on themes relating to nursing, medicine and social history.   

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Page Last Updated: 27 May, 2020