Grafton hospital book of patience
By JULIA ILES
AUTHOR Kay Paine's book, His- tory of the Grafton Hospital, was launched at Schaeffer House in Grafton on Friday night. More than 100 people attended the launch organised by the Clarence Valley Historical Society. Mrs Paine, a first-time author, worked at the Grafton hospital for almost four decades before writing the book. She started as a nursing trainee but retired as nursing director. "I saw the potential for a book due to (the hospital's) tremen- dously interesting history," she said. "I did the book through re- searching minutes of the hospital committee meetings that were re- corded in the Clarence Richmond
Examiner (now the Daily Exam- iner)." The book was launched by Dr Bill Costello, a former teacher at the nursing school, and he de- scribed Mrs Paine's work as 'a fine piece of academic writing'. The hospital began in 1863 after a man died on the floor of a lock-up. It was this incident that stimulated community sup- port for a hospital. At the inception financial sup- port was primarily the responsi- bility of local citizens. Subscrib- ers to the hospital had to pay one pound for voting rights. "This was a lot of money in those days considering for a whole year a man could make 30 shillings but unlike today the citizens had ownership of it," Mrs Paine said. For 20 years the Grafton hos-
pital was the only hospital be- tween Brisbane and Newcastle. Due to reputation it became a training and a base hospital. "The book will bring back memories for citizens of Grafton and be interesting for the de- scendants as it mentions lots of names, many from the families who are still here today," Mrs Paine said. It lists thousands of names of nurses who attended the training school and worked at the Hospi- tal. Frank Mack, of the historical society, also announced the win- ners of the History Week compe- tition. The winning essay was read aloud. History of the Grafton Hospital is on sale at Schaeffer House, Fi- tzroy Street and at Angus and Robinson for $40 per copy.