1938 – 0ur History and Heritage began

In the 1920’s word spread to Hobart about the New South Wales work of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary (LCM), founded by the Venerable Mary Potter.

Hobart doctors expressed interest in having the LCM Sisters run a hospital in Hobart and the Tasmanian branch of the British Medical Association also supported the idea.

Meanwhile, in 1931 the Cascade Road site was officially named as St John’s Hospital under the auspices of the Anglican Church as a not-for-profit hospital for care of the vulnerable with the first wing opened on 24 November 1933.

Negotiations for a Hobart LCM hospital renewed when Mother General Hilder Potter, Mary Potter’s niece and the LCM Order’s mother General, was visiting from Rome. A few months later a small party of LCM Sisters cross Bass Strait Ferry, the Taroona.

On 20 November 1938 the laying of the foundation stone of Calvary Lenah Valley has particular significance as a milestone for the LCM Sisters. It would be the most substantial brick building in Tasmania once built. The hospital cost £90000 providing 76 beds on three floors, built in red brick much like the housing of Lenah Valley. The photo above was taken the day the Calvary Lenah Valley Foundation stone was laid with the same statue of St Joseph that has since stood in front of the Calvary Lenah Valley hospital for eighty years.

Calvary Lenah Valley Hospital officially opened on 15 December 1940.  The needs of greater Hobart, in the decade which began with the austerities of the Great Depression and ended with the anxieties of World War Two, was a demanding time to commence a hospital.

From the time of the hospital’s first admission of six patients, it was described as “very busy”. The poverty and impact of war meant the Sisters were even more active in their LCM vows to care for those who could not pay.

The first patients were admitted in early 1941 and six months later the first baby delivered (Robert Maxwell).

The third floor commenced the year after in 1942 and was delayed by labour shortages and higher costs of wartime.

In 1963, The Mary Potter Wing, a twenty bed hospice was opened but later was refocussed to acute care.

In the 1970’s the maternity wing was upgraded and major upgrades and renovations were conducted in 1991.

Calvary Health Care took over governance and running the hospital from late 2000.

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