Springvale Community Hospital
Welcome to Springvale Community Health Centre. Formerly known as the Springvale and District Community Hospital, it was Springvale's first hospital. This site is significant because of the important contribution the hospital, and the health centre, have made in developing and delivering innovative health care and health settlement services for Springvale.
The facility was originally a private hospital. Built in 1924 the St Williams Private Hospital was operated by the Mawson sisters and managed by Sister Coleman. When the hospital was threatened with closure in the 1940s, the people of Springvale rallied together and raised funds to keep the facility open – creating the Springvale and District Community Hospital. Through the combined efforts of foundation President James B. Mackay, Norm Billing and the Committee of Management, the Hospital Board and the Ladies Auxiliary; the hospital was expanded from five to eighteen beds. Volunteer support and community fundraising played a significant role in the expansion and ongoing operation of the hospital.
The hospital proved its worth – providing important health care services for the culturally diverse Springvale community and in particular the residents of the Enterprise Migrant Hostel. Located in Springvale, the hostel provided accommodation and settlement services to migrants and refugees from all over the world. With backgrounds which included famine, war and disease, the newly arrived residents presented significant health challenges and the hospital provided much-needed specialist treatment. Many of the hostel residents' babies were born at the hospital. In the late 1980s it was announced that the hospital would close and the facilities would be transferred to the Springvale Community Health Service – a health resource and facility for the Springvale community.
Typifying the strong community spirit of Springvale and the community’s commitment to the hospital, local residents, hospital volunteers and hospital staff marched in demonstration against the closure. When the hospital eventually closed its doors in 1988, after 38 years of operation, it had 26 beds, an operating theatre and two labour wards. It had treated 44,259 patients and delivered 16,585 babies. Today the facility is under the management of Monash Health and is named accordingly. Building upon extensive past experience in providing health services to a diverse migrant community, the Springvale Community Health Service continues to provide a holistic, integrated and inclusive healthcare service, which has become a hallmark of the municipality.
To this day, Springvale is a testament to how innovative thinking, positive attitudes and a warm welcome can build a strong, cohesive and vibrant community. “During the early 1950s my friends and I helped serve the patients supper, fold babies’ nappies and arrange the flowers. We shared a two-hour shift every evening and the time flew by quickly as we enjoyed chatting with the patients, the staff and the visitors as we buzzed around during our jobs.”− Barbara Parker, hospital volunteer.