Lady Lamington, usefully employed
At the moment I am working—amiably and (I hope) usefully—on a conservation management plan for the former Lady Lamington Nurses’ Home, part of the Brisbane General Hospital Precinct. Whenever I pass the front entrance I get to enjoy the memorial stone placed there in 1896 by Lady Lamington, wife of the then Governor of Queensland.
In the presence of a large and representative gathering, Lady Lamington on Monday afternoon placed in position the memorial stone of the new quarters for the nurses of the Brisbane Hospital. The building, to which our youthful vice-reine has given her name, stands on the highest part of the hospital hill. The contractors, Messrs Crawford and Cameron, who are carrying out the design of the architects, Messrs Hall and Dods, have during the last couple of months made good progress with their work. The walls and framework of the building are practically completed, and it is now possible to obtain an idea of what the Lady Lamington Home for Nurses will be like when it is ready for occupation, and of its general arrangements. On entering the ground floor by the main entrance, there is a waiting room for visitors on one side of the hall. On the other side is the head nurse’s suite of rooms. In the front wing there is a general sitting-room and a dormitory, containing cubicles for 10 nurses. In the side wing is another dormitory with cubicles for 12 nurses; also private bedrooms and sitting-rooms for charge nurses. On the first floor the front wing contains another general sitting-room, 10 more cubicles, and three charge nurses’ bedrooms. In the side wing, on the first floor, carefully screened from noise or possible interruption, are 16 cubicles for night nurses, who will, of course, be sleeping there during the day. For the present it is intended to use the old dining room. When sufficient funds are forthcoming to provide steam cooking the nurses will be enabled to take their meals in the Lady Lamington Home. In view of the prominent position of the building the architects decided to avoid the prevailing iron roof. The home will be covered with red tiles, which, besides adding colour to the landscape, will increase the coolness of the quarters.
About 400 persons were present at the ceremony on Monday afternoon. Ladies attended in strong force, and the gentlemen who were there represented every section of the community. Among the assemblage were many former nurses of the hospital.
Lady Lamington arrived at the appointed hour, 4 o’clock, accompanied by Miss Rod and Mr and Mrs Pascoe Stuart. Her ladyship was presented with a basket of choice flowers, which were handed to her by Miss Jackson, the eldest daughter of the medical superintendent.
As many of the visitors as could secured places on the ground floor veranda, on which the ceremony took place, and which was excessively crowded. A few ventured on the upper veranda, but a large number had to be content with such view as they could get from the ground in front of the building.
Mr James Stodart, MLA, chairman of the committee, in opening the proceedings, said that when Lady Lamington kindly consented to perform the ceremony of placing the memorial stone in position, it was arranged that the quarters should be called the Lady Lamington Home for Nurses of the Brisbane Hospital. This had been done, with her ladyship’s approval, and he was sure that the action of the committee would meet with the endorsement of subscribers generally.
Mr H J Oxley, Honorary Treasurer, said that subscribers would be pleased to know that whereas the nurses’ quarters at the Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, cost £17,000, and provided accommodation for 46 nurses, the building of which the memorial stone was now about to be laid, though costing only about £5,000, would provide accommodation for over 50 nurses. (Applause.)
The stone was then hoisted and placed in the recess which had been left for its reception, on the right of the main entrance. When it was in position Lady Lamington tapped it in the usual way. The applause which followed showed that the spectators considered that the ceremony had been “well and truly” performed. The tablet is a block of Oamaru stone, and the inscription on it is as follows: “This stone was placed in position September 14, 1896, by May, Lady Lamington, to commemorate the building of the Lady Lamington Home for Nurses of the Brisbane Hospital. F B Hall, R S Dods, architects.” Mr Dods and Mr Cameron supervised the setting of the stone.
Hon Horace Tozer, Home Secretary, said it had fallen to him to propose a most pleasant motion, and that was that they should accord their hearty thanks to Lady Lamington for the function which she had performed. Always amiable, Lady Lamington was never more amiably or more usefully employed than she was in the work which she had performed on this occasion. (Applause.)
Hon D H Dalrymple, Minister for Works, in seconding the motion, said he was sure all present would be delighted to tender to Lady Lamington the thanks which she had so well earned. Since their arrival in Queensland, Lord and Lady Lamington had been foremost in all works of this description. They could depend on her showing on all similar occasions the same interest and sympathy which led her to come there that day and leave her name in a solid tablet not only on the wall of the building which bore her name, but also in the hearts of those who were present. (Applause.)
The motion was carried with three hearty cheers.
After the ceremony the visitors were entertained at afternoon tea under the spreading fig tree in front of the medical superintendent’s residence. The refreshments were supplied by Eschenhagen. Music was provided by Signor Truda’s string quartette. Before leaving many of the guests visited the wards, which were open for inspection, and which by their bright and trim order, and their clean and wholesome condition, gained the praise of all who went through them. The amount of the contributions received at the ceremony was £47 16s 9d in addition to which several promises of subscriptions were made.
—“Lady Lamington Home: Brisbane Hospital: Nurses’ New Quarters,” The Week, 15 September 1896.