Today, when we think of hospital, we tend to think of modern organisations, which have been established in the not too distant past. If asked to think of an historic hospital, most might think of the Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital, yet there are others with similarly amazing and indeed important history. The Carrington Hospital at Camden, whose dispensary is pictured in the circa 1920 postcard above, is just one example.
Carrington Hospital was a very important part of Australia’s medical history. The hospital was known as The Carrington Centenary Hospital For Convalescents and was the first major medical facility built for convalescents in the entirety of the NSW colony. The hospital, provided care for patients rehabilitating from illness or injury, and although only officially opened in 1890, was built in commemoration of the centenary of the colony, which fell in 1888.
The hospital was named after the Governor who was serving the colony during these celebrations, Lord Carrington, yet its very existence was owed to a different man entirely. To celebrate the centenary, a Mr William Henry Palings, who owned a successful music store (Palings Music Store) gifted his farm, known as Grasmere, along with 10,000 pounds to the people of NSW. The land was used to build the hospital and funding came not just from Palings himself, but from the Public and New South Wales Government, who equalled the 10,000 pounds which had already been donated. Carrington Hospital was designed by H. C. Kent and built by P. Graham and at the time was a state of the art hospital, and indeed contributed greatly to improved techniques of hospital ventilation. Today the hospital remains in use as a nursing home.