BECAUSE of grave doubts about the Government subsidy the hospital board reduced staff salaries by 10 per cent in 1930. To make matters worse, the lighting plant broke down and the board decided to connect to the mains of the Electric Supply Company.
Sir Philip Game, the Governor of NSW was invited to open the Bega Show in March, 1931, and while in the town he visited the hospital and was entertained by matron and members of the ladies' committee. He remarked on the hospital being free of debt as it had a banker as chairman and another as treasurer.
This turnabout in the hospital's finances was probably due to the success of the Systematic Contributions Scheme, having, in its second year, 1486 contributors which provided funding for the hospital being painted inside and out. Major permanent improvements were undertaken in 1934-35, consisting of new buildings and additions costing 5034 pounds and X-ray 973 pounds. The work comprised new wards, verandah assembly, annexes in isolation block, two new bedrooms, sitting room alterations in domestic quarters, old operating theatre converted to two-bed intermediate ward, new theatre, new store and bathroom, new laundry, boiler room and wardsman's quarters. In the nurses' quarters two new bedrooms and a bathroom plus hot water and steam services to most buildings.
In 1935 hospital administration was changed. Legislation turned the hospital committees into boards, four members of which were Government appointees, and five elected by ballot.
Jack Graham grew up in the district . His first trip to the hospital was to have his tonsils out in 1932. "I must have been about five. Everyone came to Bega on Tuesday because it was sale day. My parents dropped me off in the morning so they could pick me up in the afternoon, when the sales were over. Anaesthetics then were either ether or chloroform, and I think it was ether they gave me. I'd had it once before and I hated it."
Jack was handed over to the care of the nurses, and led down a hall to a bathroom to have his clothes taken off. Sensing what was coming, the five year old fought the two nurses with vigour coming out of panic.
"One of them went backwards into the bath, and I got the other one in the stomach with my feet.
But they overpowered me in the end. Three or four of them held me down on the operating table and shoved the mask over my face. That was the way kids had their tonsils out then." Jack was pretty groggy when he was picked up by his parents on their way home from the sales. "Dr McKee did the operation. He was a great old doctor".