Calvary Mater Newcastle turns 100

On Friday 25 March, Calvary Mater Newcastle kick-started a year of celebrations to mark its 100-year history.

Opening its doors in 1922, the Newcastle Mater Misericordiae Hospital was founded and administered by the Sisters of Mercy from their Mother House in Singleton. These Sisters were originally from Ennis, Ireland.

From humble beginnings, the hospital first commenced as a 34-bed hospital in a single building known as Enmore Hall situated on Edith Street, Waratah. In 1927, through a 10,000 pound donation from Mr W Longworth, a children’s block was built at the rear of the existing hospital. Then almost a decade later, at a cost of 78,000 pounds, raised by the local community, a new Mater Hospital was built and officially opened on 7 April 1935. This grand building was three storeys high with accommodation for 32 private and 60 public patients.

A staple in Newcastle’s history, the Mater famously survived the earthquake of 1989 and ‘the Mercy on the Mater campaign’ where the public successfully campaigned to keep the Mater a public hospital to be rebuilt on its current site in Waratah.

In 2006 the hospital transferred ownership from the Sisters of Mercy (Singleton) to Little Company of Mary Health Care. With the most public symbol of a new beginning for the hospital being the name change to Calvary Mater Newcastle in 2007. The hospital then underwent redevelopment under a Public Private Partnership, which was completed in 2009.

Fast forward to 2022, the hospital is now a 215-bed facility, employing over 1,300 staff and caring for more than 460,000 outpatients a year, 17,000 inpatient services, and attending to more than 40,000 Emergency Department presentations. Calvary Mater Newcastle provides specialist medical care in a range of cancer services, palliative care, and toxicology. As well as serving the local community through its critical care, medical and surgical services. The Mater is recognised as a leading research centre and the main centre for cancer clinical trials in the Hunter region.

The Mater has a long and proud history of being at the heart of the Hunter community. While the people may have changed, the values have continued to guide and inform staff’s ongoing commitment to serve the people of the region through their expertise and compassion.

Mark Jeffrey, General Manager, Calvary Mater Newcastle, commenting on what the Centenary means to the hospital said,

“It is a chance for us to celebrate the legacy of the Mater. A time to reflect on the Mater’s contribution to the health and wellbeing of this community. A time to remember the story of those who have gone before us and those who now will take us into the future. A time to acknowledge those who have been missing from the story – that of the Awabakal people – the original inhabitants of the land, on which the service operates.”

As Calvary Mater Newcastle embarks on its Centenary year, we acknowledge it is a place of significance to this community that we will continue to be proud of and hold with the upmost of care.