June 2002 Newsletter - lrene Hunnam (Park) YHS 1952

lrene Hunnam (Park) YHS 1952 Shares her memories of Yallourn Hospital with us. lrene's husband, Alan, has recently become ill and we send them both our very best wishes. Remembering the Old Yallourn Hospital: I was one of the very early nursing trainees at the Latrobe Valley Community Hospital in Yallourn, commencing there in 1957. On arrival, I was given a furnished room in the student nurses' home and issued with a grey uniform, resplendent with stiff starched collar, cuffs, cap and white apron. To complete the uniform, I was given a purple cape with the insignia of the LVCH in gold lettering on the left hand corner. The hospital boasted a pathology, casualty, children's ward and male & female wards, with two operating theatres and at the end of the hospital was the large medical wing. For the next three years, I was under the tutelage of such wonderful people as Matron Baker, Matron Orr, Mr Coulson. Sister Topsy Smith and many others. The hospital was staffed by many English nursing assistants, who had migrated to Australia following the 2nd World War. They took the student nurses under their wings and gave them guidance and motherly advice, often inviting the students to their homes in Moe or Newborough to give them a home cooked meal. It was a friendly hospital, everyone knew each other and it was not unusual to be caring for someone you went to school with or a friend of your parents. You shared their joys and their tragedies. The township was a few kilometres from the hospital and owning a car on student nurses wages was virtually impossible, so our only means of transport was the infrequent bus service or a taxi, which was only affordable if shared with others. Luckily, the hospital had a kiosk which was operated daily by Mrs King, who allowed the nurses credit and on our fortnightly pay day, we detoured directly to the kiosk to pay our debts. We formed the Student Nurses' Association and held some hilarious and wonderful social nights, raising enough money to buy record players for the nursing home. We had a netball and tennis court at the hospital and these were regularly used - we entered a netball team in the local association but at times, found it difficult to muster a team due to shift work, but with a lot of begging, we'd talk girls into playing who had never played in their lives. The original hospital has been gone many years now but it is with fond memories that I recall my time spent there and the wonderful friendships I made. It should be remembered with pride for the many nurses that trained there and went on out into the community to get successful careers.