A celebratory mass was held at Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg this week to mark 75 years since the hospital first opened its doors to care for the Wide Bay community.
Mater Chair Francis Sullivan, Mater Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Steer, Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey attended the event, along with several former and current nurses and doctors who have trained and worked at the Brabourne Street hospital over the past seven decades.
Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg Executive Officer Catherine Hackney said the hospital was founded on 28 July 1946 by the strength and spirit of the Sisters of Mercy and had been delivering compassionate care to the community ever since.
“This hospital has played a special role in many people’s lives over the years, including my own,” Ms Hackney said.
“My parents are both GPs and I spent many hours here when I was growing up, even spending the night occasionally when my mum was providing after-hours cover.
“My very first day as a qualified nurse was in the operating theatres here and although I have worked in other hospitals, I have kept coming back to this one because it’s a special place.”
Special guests also include Sisters of Mercy and relatives of the owners of the original grand home that became the hospital, as well as nurses and other staff who learned their craft inside the wards.
Former nurse Terri Bretherton, who was one of three siblings to train and work at the hospital in the 1970s, remembers hard but rewarding work and plenty of fun living in the nurses’ quarters.
“I worked at the hospital on and off for 40 years,” she said.
“I finally left Mater in 2013 to work at CQUniversity, involving myself in the education of future Mater nurses.”
Mater Board Chair Francis Sullivan said Bundaberg was an integral part of the Mater hospital network in Queensland.
“Today’s 75th anniversary celebrations provide us with an opportunity to reaffirm Mater’s commitment to caring for the people of Bundaberg and its surrounding region,” Mr Sullivan said.
Mater Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Steer said the anniversary was testament to its commitment to providing safe, compassionate care to the communities it served.
“Last year, Mater made the decision to become one single, uniform organisation, creating the largest not-for-profit health network in Queensland,” Dr Steer said.
“This has provided each of our hospitals – including Bundaberg – with an unprecedented ability to leverage resourcing and expertise from across the state.”
The celebrations included a curated display of donated keepsakes and memorabilia from the past 75 years.