July 26, 2020
A small building at Kingaroy Hospital which has served the community for more than 60 years is on the move again!
Recent visitors to the hospital would know the building as the canteen, run by the Kingaroy Hospital Auxiliary, but its history as a community facility stretches back much further than that.
And now, thanks to Queensland Health and the Kingaroy & District Vintage Machinery Club, it will continue to serve the community well into the future … just at a different location.
The canteen building was loaded on to the back of a semi-trailer on Sunday afternoon, the first step towards its new life at the Machinery Club’s grounds at Butwell Park, near Kingaroy Airport.
The move became necessary due to the new Kingaroy Hospital construction project.
Queensland Health offered the building for tender in May.
Auxiliary president / secretary Alison L. Murray said she was happy it had found a new home.
The building dates back to 1959 when fundraising began in the local community to build a Rest Room for families visiting relatives in Kingaroy General Hospital.
Alison said the Red Cross headquarters loaned £5000 towards the project.
A local appeal plus a £1000 bequest from the estate of Mr T. Gawn made the construction a reality. Local residents helped paint the building.
The Rest Rooms were officially opened on February 25, 1961, during a Red Cross fete at the hospital.
Alison said the building was originally located on the corner of Albert and Youngman streets.
Over the years, it has housed different community services: family accommodation, the Red Cross Blood Bank (from about 1980), a patient library (1972-96), and a medical library for hospital staff.
In 1983, the building was shifted about 500 metres within the hospital grounds.
In its new location, near the helipad, it continued as an accommodation venue, library and Blood Bank. Medical aids, equipment and baby capsules were also offered for hire.
Unfortunately, the Kingaroy Red Cross Group closed in May 2006 however the Rest Rooms continued to provide accommodation for patients’ families until 2011.
In 2012, the building started a new chapter in its life.
The Kingaroy Hospital Auxiliary was offered it after the original Farrhome Building, which had housed the canteen, was deemed unsafe.
Renovations and refurbishments were again supported by local residents and community groups.
Volunteers stripped down the walls and in-kind donations were gratefully received, eg. a hot water system, concrete ramp, and money to paint the building.
“Without the efforts of Richard Rose, Ron Roberts, community groups, Sandra Beetham, David Morton and Marjorie McKewen, the canteen would have closed down, and the building would have sat idle,” Alison said.
The community support enabled the Auxiliary to create a dining area – which was named in honour of former Auxiliary president Dr Julian Mullins in 2014 – a large serving area, and a disabled bathroom.
Auxiliary volunteers provided home-cooked meals at a reasonable price five days a week to staff, patients’ families and the general public – a role that has been continuing until recently.
Funds raised were used to purchase furnishings and equipment for Kingaroy Hospital.
Alison said that since 1991 more than $300,000 worth of furnishings and equipment have been donated by the Auxiliary to Kingaroy Hospital or services associated with it.
“The Hospital Auxiliary team have many fond memories of the building, including conversations with staff, patients and the general public, whilst preparing meals; selling knitted items kindly donated by the Kingaroy Knitters Group and, when time permitted, enjoying a cuppa and afternoon tea together in the Canteen dining room,” Alison said.
She said that without the help of Jo Shaw (Executive Director Rural, Darling Downs Health), South Burnett Regional Council and Matt Lonsdale, from the Kingaroy & District Machinery Club., the building would have been demolished.
“It is wonderful to see a community building, built and paid for by the local Kingaroy community, still going strong after nearly 60 years; and about to join another local Kingaroy community group,” Alison said.
UPDATE July 27: The building has made it to its new home at the club’s grounds.