#ThrowbackThursday: Old Bega Hospital memories #1

FRIENDS of the Old Bega Hospital members are looking forward and back.

Forward with their Raise the Roof, Old Bega Hospital Spring Festival on Sunday, October 25 - the first of the annual spring festivals - and back with Capturing the Memories, a project to record and write about the stories of those who worked at the hospital, or those who were patients, visitors or went to the hospital in any capacity.

Built in 1889, the hospital was very much a regional hospital until 1957 when the present Bega District Hospital opened.

The old hospital was then used as a hostel for Bega High School boys, and then to support an experimental farm run by the Department of Agriculture.

It then fell into disrepair.

A major community effort, supported by funding from the Australian Bicentenary, restored the hospital for its centenary in 1988 and it became a thriving community centre.

On May 2, 2004, the main hospital buildings caught fire, severely damaging the roof, floors and windows, but leaving most of the brickwork, including the chimneys intact.

The outbuildings, not affected by the fire, are been used by radio station, potters, weavers, lead lighters and many others, and the site was managed by a reserve trust.

Two years ago, the Friends of Old Bega Hospital was formed to lobby and fundraise for the restoration of the main building.

It prepared a plan for a regional community and cultural centre after restoration and the NSW Government has given the Trust a grant for $500,000 for the restoration of the roof.

That's why this year's spring festival is called Raise the Roof.

This family fun day will be held in conjunction with EDGE FM, and there'll be demonstrations, workshops, a barbecue, music, morning and afternoon, tea, a car boot sale, a chocolate wheel and competitions for children.

Leading up to Raise the Roof will be the Capturing the Memories project where all those associated with the hospital, when it was a hospital, are asked to contact Claire Lupton on clairelupton@bigpond.com, or phone 6492 2570.

She will interview them on their stories, or they can just send their stories in to Ms Lupton.

Photos are also very much needed for the project and if anyone has a photo, they can contact Ms Lupton and it will be copied and returned.

Kevin Tetley remembers having his tonsils and adenoids out when he was 11.

As he was wheeled to the operating theatre, which was outside, he was struck by the size of the hospital's wood heap.

Dr John McKee performed the operation.

Peter Rogers was six when he visited his grandfather and great aunt at the hospital after they had had an accident on the Tantawangalo Road.

Kaye Jauncey will set an unbeatable record.

Born at the Old Bega Hospital, she trained as a nurse and works at the Bega District Hospital and will work at the South East Regional Hospital.

These and the other stories garnered for Capturing the Memories will be published in a booklet that hopefully will be ready for sale at Raise the Roof on October 25.