Our Hospital: 100 years of History

100 years of History

With the passing of the years, institutions and organisations either flourish or die; they either make considerable contribution to a community or by their very nature, become obsolete.

The creation of any beneficial service demands foresight, the commitment of skills and the finances of people. Looking back to the establishment of St Andrew’s Private hospital in Ipswich, I am convinced the men involved were of this calibre.

The years bear witness to the wisdom of the decision made in 1909 by Dr John Alexander Cameron, who saw a need and accepted the challenge.

Celebrating seventy-five years (now one hundred years) of service to Ipswich, this once small cottage hospital has become the ultimate in caring skills and administrational capabilities. It is able to offer facilities which are abreast of contemporary technology.
All serve to the utmost, the patients within it’s care!
St Andrew’s, created from the past, caught in the progress of the present, prepares for the future – Margery Brier-Mills

Founding Doctors

Dr John Alexander Cameron, the founder of St Andrew’s, was a highly respected practitioner. Tall and gentlemanly, he was a man very conscious of his Scottish Heritage, therefore to name his hospital St Andrew’s was quite logical.

The original hospital building consisted of four rooms, verandahs, a kitchen and a laundry. It was a happy, human place and the people involved cared. In the initial years, the staff increased to three nurses and three domestics who were supervised by Matron McCamm. Dr Cameron ensured that suitable celebrations were observed by both staff and patients every St Andrew’s Day (30th November).

Three other doctors became involved in the development of the hospital, Dr Basil Hart initially joined Dr Cameron in 1912 and then again later, following his participation and return from the First World War (1914 – 1918). In 1921, cousins Dr Mervyn Stuart Paterson, who had come to Ipswich in 1913 and Dr Benjamin Gilmore Wilson, former Superintendent of the Ipswich General Hospital, joined the partnership. In 1924, the first Board of St Andrew’s Private Hospital had been formed.

Steady Growth

Due to the great compassion and expertise of the doctors and staff, a remarkable standard of patient care was maintained at St Andrew’s. Steady progress was made during the years from 1926 -1939.

With Matron Hoskins in charge, a maternity and nursery wing was added to the western side of the cottage. On completion, St Andrew’s was able to boast the only obstetric ward in Ipswich and the impeccable record in obstetric deliveries held by Dr Cameron, gained the hospital it’s high reputation in this field.

The nurses were quartered under this section and one of the back rooms was transformed into an operating theatre. Prior to this development, operations were performed in the wards, the bed screened from the other patient’s in the room.


Finances permitted the purchase of the property on the eastern boundary in 1939 and an east wing of ten rooms was constructed and used as the surgical ward.

By 1944, a properly sterilised operating theatre had been built and this enabled better, more proficient surgery to be performed. Other doctors were encouraged to send their patient’s to St Andrew’s and consequently, it was well patronised. The hospital had grown to thirty four beds and during times of high occupancy, the verandah’s were set up to accommodate the “not so ill” patients.

By the late 1940’s further expansion was required, adding another fourteen beds, a second operating theatre, autoclave and recovery room.

In 1964, a home in Roderick Street was purchased and accommodated nursing staff. In 1967, the centre block and back wings were demolished, replaced by the Intermediate Block. A further extension of ten beds were added and part of the Eastern Wing was converted into a Children’s Ward.

Another property in Pring Street was purchased in 1977 which enabled construction of the current three story extension, which was completed in 1980. This expanded the hospital’s capacity to one hundred and two beds and this number of beds has remained relatively constant to this day. Numerous internal changes and refurbishments during this period continue to ensure that St Andrew’s remains a modern, safe, acute care hospital, proudly serving the community.

Current Times

During the following three decades, the hospital changed ownership a number of times from the original doctor’s “St Andrew’s Holding” to a series of corporate owners and is now in the safe hands of Ramsay Health Care, who have committed to considerable investment in the present and the ongoing future and development of St Andrew’s.

….and so, the hospital that bears the name of a saint, can reflect with a wonderful sense of achievement, it’s contribution to Ipswich, Queensland.
St Andrew’s Private Hospital of the past offered true dedication and endeavour. That of the present epitomises commitment and foresight. The St Andrew’s of the future will be the ultimate of professionalism, dependency and service. - Margery Brier-Mills

Edited and amended from the publication:
Margery Brier-Mills

(St Andrew’s Hospital Ipswich 75 years of Service, 1909-1984).

100 years of history at St Andrew's Private

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