Celebrating 100 years
Watch our 100 years in motion video
From the CEO
Welcome to the St Vincent’s Hospital, Lismore Centenary Hub.
As we celebrate 100 years we look back with pride at how our hospital evolved from humble beginnings to the modern healthcare precinct it is today.
Here you will find a snapshot of our rich history. It tells the story of how St Vincent’s, across the decades, kept pace with the diverse healthcare needs of the people of Northern New South Wales.
St Vincent’s founders were extraordinarily resourceful, resilient and driven by a clear vision. And our history is defined by the spirit and selfless contribution of our doctors, our nurses, our support staff, and our volunteers.
As we look to our future, it is our unique history that inspires us to keep serving our community with great healthcare.
Chief Executive Officer
St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Lismore
St Vincents Hospital — Over the years
1920's –The Early Years
John Joseph Carroll had a vision to provide better healthcare for the people of the Far North Coast of New South Wales. He decided Lismore needed a hospital and purchased four acres of land with a timber two-storey residence in Dalley Street, Lismore. It was a humble beginning.
Four Sisters of Charity travelled by train from Sydney to establish the hospital – Sisters Leonard, Adrian, Luigi and Norbert. The Sisters occupied the upper floor of the residence and converted the remainder of the building to the hospital. And within a year they had the hospital up and running with the Sisters caring for their first patients who were admitted by Doctor Coen and Doctor Fransceschi.
The St Vincent’s committee began building an operating theatre on the North-East corner of the original building.
Sister Leonard O’Beirne was the first Mother Superior and Sister Luigi returned 16 yeas later to become Superior. The brass Leonard Bell was installed and is now inside the hospital’s Avondale Avenue entrance.
Within the hospital’s grounds a convent was built to house the Sisters of Charity. The convent’s foundation stone was laid and blessed by the Bishop of Lismore Rev. Carroll in 1922 and the convent completed in 1923.
Electric power and lighting replaced gas facilities at the hospital.
An epidemic of dengue fever stretched the little hospital to its limits, sparking an appeal for a bigger and brighter hospital.
The hospital doubled in size with the opening of the new 30-bed Ryan Wing, which was opened and blessed by the founder Bishop Carroll. The first student nurses began their training in 1932, and a nurses home was created for 16 trainees in the Tarmons building the following year.
Keeping pace with medical advances, the Hospitals’ Commission provided an X-ray Unit. In 1935 nursing accommodation in Tarmons House Dalley Street was extended, including a central area for lectures.
To care for the region’s chronically and terminally ill St Joseph’s Hospice was established in Avondale Avenue and blessed in 1937. In the same year 13 nurses complete their training.
The hospital continued to improve its facilities opening a new improved laundry and extending the nurses home. In 1942 a 20-bed extension to the St Joseph’s Hospice opened.
The Lions Club of Lismore, committed to building the “Little Shop” as their first voluntary undertaking for the hospital.
An additional extension was made to St Joseph’s Hospice, which now provided 50 beds in total.
The first Board was appointed with Father Donnelly as Chair and Mother Honorata, Dr T Roberts, Dr N Brand and Dr N Rogers.
To help restore patients’ quality of life a 25-bed Rehabilitation Unit, the KG Lawrence Building was established and opened by the Minister of Health, Mr. Jago. The Unit benefitted from the skills of many health specialists and specialist rehabilitation nurses.
Multiple improvements to the campus were made. Plans progressed for extensions to the Rehabilitation Unit, Remedial Gymnasium, Solarium and a hall for meetings. A new theatre suite, recovery ward and extensions to St Joseph’s progressed with balconies being built by Mr. Coleman, the hospital carpenter.
The original hospital building was expanded through the addition of the Roberts Wing. It was blessed and opened by Mr. Jago, Minister of Health.
“The Little Shop”, located in the main building, raised $4.5k for a hydrotherapy pool in the Rehabilitation Unit. In 1973 patients started
to enjoy the benefits of exercising in heated water, an excellent form of treatment for a range of conditions.
The Sisters of Charity left the hospital to pursue their vocations elsewhere. The Presentation Sisters continued a religious presence through the Pastoral Care Service.
St Joseph’s Nursing Home, a 60-bed nursing home, was relocated to Dalley Street and opened by Mr. K J Stewart, Minister for Youth and Community Services. The complex was blessed and dedicated by the Apostolic Pro Nuncio to Australia, His Excellency the Most Reverend L. Bartbarito who was visiting the Diocese of Lismore.
A day therapy service facility – The Carroll Centre – was established at the Avondale Avenue entrance.
With nurse training now University led, the final group of hospital trained nurses graduated.
Tarmons (the original hospital) was converted to the Administration Centre. Ward 1 was refurbished to accommodate day surgery patients. This included the opening of a procedure room, which performed mainly endoscopic procedures three days a week.
St Vincent’s was privatized with a flexible component of public beds. Approval was received for a licence of 100 private beds.
The Private Wing was officially opened by Mr. Peter Collins, Minister of Health and the Arts. The Bishop of Lismore, the Most Reverend John Satterthwaite, D.D. blessed the facility.
To support hospital staff with young children, the Friends Long Day Child Care Centre was opened by Anita Keating, wife of Prime Minister Paul Keating and blessed by Bishop of Lismore, the Most Reverend John Satterthwaite, D.D.
The Eye Unit adjacent to the day surgery was opened.
Friends Coffee Lounge and the Specialist Medical Centre was officially opened and blessed by the Bishop of Lismore, the Most Reverend John Satterthwaite, D.D.
The newly refurbished Day Surgery Unit was opened and blessed by the Most Reverend John Satterthwaite, D.D. As a modern facility it provided a safe and convenient environment for surgical and investigative procedures.
The hospital’s Oncology Unit, staffed by a multi-disciplinary team expert in treating and supporting patients with cancer, was blessed and officially opened by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, D.D. Bishop of Lismore on 1th April.
The Renal Dialysis Unit, providing outpatient dialysis services for patients with advanced kidney disease, was blessed and officially opened by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, D.D. Bishop of Lismore on 15th April.
2011 – today
The hospital’s Education Centre was officially opened by Page MP Janelle Saffin and blessed by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, D.D. Bishop of Lismore.
The St Anne’s Wing at St Joseph’s Nursing Home added an additional 20 single rooms. It was officially opened and blessed by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, D.D. Bishop of Lismore.
The Endoscopy Suite, a dedicated area using hi-tech endoscopes (cameras) for exploratory medical procedures was opened. In the same year the Short Stay Unit was completed and both were blessed by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, D.D. Bishop of Lismore.
St Vincent’s opened an interventional hybrid theatre, the first of its kind in the Northern Rivers and another two new operating theatres, blessed and opened by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, D.D. Bishop of Lismore. This was supported by four other fully equipped operating theatres with a well-appointed Post Anesthesia Care Unit.
Ozanam Villa was purchased by St Vincent’s and integrated as the fourth wing of St Joseph’s Nursing Home. It was blessed by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, D.D.Bishop of Lismore, and renamed Mary’s Grange.
Ward 2 (Roberts Wing) was refurbished to accommodate rehabilitation patients. Ward 4 became a medical ward with patient access to private rooms.
St Vincent’s Private Day Surgery in Uralba Street provided a sixth operating theatre for the hospital. It was previously Lismore Private Day Surgery.
The hospital completed a Master Plan with a vision to support the demand for community services for the next 20 years.
To cater for our growing community’s healthcare needs, the hospital’s purpose-built Specialist Consulting Suites in Ballina were opened.
The hospital celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the Renal Dialysis Unit, which received an upgrade of 12 new renal dialysis machines, chairs and a new reverse osmosis system.
St Vincent’s Hospital celebrates 100 years of service to the community. Across the decades it’s been the hospital’s doctors, nurses, support staff and volunteers whose spirit has defined St Vincent’s.
Today the hospital’s clinical teams, care givers, and support staff provide high quality surgical and medical services for patients who experience a safe, compassionate service. As part of the Diocese of Lismore, the hospital’s mission is to provide health care to improve the life, comfort and functioning of all patients.
Share your St Vincent’s memories with us
St Vincent’s Hospital greatly appreciates The Northern Star granting permission to publish their images on various platforms as part of the St Vincent’s Centenary Campaign. St Vincent’s Hospital also acknowledge CN2480 Photography and Helen Trustum for permitting use of images from their collections in our centenary video.