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Beecroft Road, Beecroft

Kirra Private Hospital is recorded as operating at least between 1929 and 1952 when Beecroft identity Pat Spark  gave birth to twin daughters there on 24 September 1952. (The Spark family has operated Spark‚Äôs Shoes in Beecroft since the 1930s).

The earliest recorded birth at the hospital was in 1929 and the hospital at that time was operated by Sister Margaret Howard at her home, Helenie, at 86 Beecroft Road (the house still exists on this site). She was leasing it from Harry Holcombe and his family. She seems also to have practised as a midwife at home births, then preferred by many women, and certainly a much cheaper alternative in the 1930s depression.

In about 1940 Sister Margaret Howard established the hospital at 64 (now 66 Beecroft Road) close to St John's. It is likely that she was in partnership with Sister Ivy Shaw, a Tresillian trained nurse, who appears in 1941as a joint ratepayer.  The building had  seven wards or rooms and a wing was added as a home for the Howard sisters.  The hospital bookkeeper was Elsie Howard and May Howard was the cook. Sister Howard and Sister Shaw subsequently parted ways. 

While in the main the hospital took maternity cases, doctors also performed tonsillectomies there. At that time, it was a very common procedure.

Under Sister Howard the hospital was widely known for its high level of care for mothers and babies, as shown by records of births there to mothers who came from distant suburbs such as Strathfield and Collaroy and from as far away as Wallerawang and Coffs Harbour.

The building was demolished in about 2005.

Sources

The Sydney Morning Herald 1929 - 1954.

Hornsby Council rate books.

Oral testimony from Sari Browne, John Goldberg and Stuart Braga.

 

Lesley Goldberg

November  2014