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How Legends Began: The History of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

By November 26, 2021 No Comments

A good patient experience has always been the priority for our hospitals and medical research institute.

The Northern Sydney Local Health District has been at the forefront of innovation in health research and patient care in Australia for more than 130 years. But do you know how Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital began? 

Welcome back to ‘How Legends Began,’ a series where we take a look at how the generosity of the community throughout the years has helped build the hospitals and expand the research units we have today. To this day, we are inspired by the legacy of our early healthcare workers who strived to always provide excellence in healthcare and patient services.  

Through this series, we want to explore the idea of a legacy and ask, “What kind of impact do we want to make in the world?”  

At the NORTH Foundation, we believe that it’s never too early to start thinking about creating a powerful legacy.  

To inspire you to start thinking about your legacy, we take a look at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital – a hospital that all began thanks to a generous donation of land from a local councillor. 

Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital: The legend that began with a generous gift-in-kind  

Since 1912, the community had wished to build a public hospital to service the growing population in Sydney’s Upper North Shore; however, they struggled to get funding. Finally, on October 2, 1923, a hospital committee formed with Councillor Paul A. James as its President and discussions about the new hospital began. 

Official opening of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital in 1933.

The original plan was to build the hospital at Hornsby Heights, but after consideration of the land, planners sought for a larger location. Local councillor, Thomas E. Rofe made a generous gift-in-kind donation of land located on Palmerstone Road in Hornsby, where the hospital remains to this day.  

After almost 15 years of campaigning by the local community, the hospital first opened to the public on August 26, 1933, by Governor Sir Philip Game. On its opening, hundreds of people gathered at the front of the hospital in celebration.  

Since 1933, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Health Service, incorporating Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital and six community health centres, has been providing quality health care to the community, stretching from the Hawkesbury River to Lindfield and from St Ives to Cherrybrook. 

Modern Emergency Department at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

Although the needs of the community have changed since the opening of the hospital, one thing that remains is Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital’s commitment to providing the best patient care possible to the community.

With a vision of expanding to meet the growing needs of the community and providing a better experience for patients, carers, staff and visitors to the hospital, Hornsby Kur-ring-gai Hospital is currently in the second stage of its redevelopment.  

This project includes a refurbished and expanded Emergency Department and a new multi-storey Clinical Services Building – state-of-the-art facilities that are designed to provide the best possible health care to the local community today and into the future.  

Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital redevelopment

What legacy do you want to leave? 

The reason we call a Gift in Will a legacy gift is because it is something that an individual is giving after their lifetime.  

Choosing to leave a Gift in Will is a testament to your values and how you want to be remembered. You may never get to see the impact of your donation, but the rest of the community who benefits from your generosity will remember you for it – it will become your legacy. 

We are so grateful that the number of people within our community who have chosen to donate or include a gift in their Will to the Northern Sydney Local Health District, has significantly increased over the last few years.  

In fact, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital recently received a Gift in Will from the generous Pamela Andrew, a long-term resident of Beecroft for more than 70 years. Pamela’s generous legacy gift was made up of property and shares that were sold and generated crucial funding which the hospital will use to make upgrades to some of its key departments next year. Stay tuned for the announcement in 2022! 

Thomas E. Rofe and the Hornsby community created a legacy that continues to grow and support the community of Hornsby today, almost 90 years later. Generous individuals, like the late Pamela Andrew keep this tradition alive and in turn, keep our hospitals thriving.  

If you are interested in creating your own legacy and you want to make an impact on your local healthcare services then we would love to talk to you. 

Leaving a gift in your Will is a very personal and generous decision and your first priority is your loved ones so it is important to talk with them about your wishes and why you might choose to leave a gift to the NORTH Foundation or one of our beneficiaries. 

To learn more about how Gifts in Wills have impacted our hospitals and research units, please click here 

In the next edition of ‘How Legends Began’, we take a look at the history of Ryde Hospital and discover how the community helped to build the hospital we know today.

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