The Sanitorium

The first returned soldiers arrived at the San by 1917, and Mrs Allison offered the San to the Australian Government for their treatment.  It was to be free of cost for the duration of the war.  This offer was accepted and a large number of patients passed through the Institution, many of them victims of gas warfare.  

The Government took over on 18 December 1918.  They spared no expense and two big main wards, cubicles for sick patients, sister’s quarters, a doctor’s residence, recreation rooms for staff and patients, dining and kitchen block, power house and laundry facilities were added to the complex.  All the buildings were supplied with hot and cold water and electricity.   The cost was £16,536.   It became a model up-to-date hospital in a beautiful setting overlooking a valley towards a mountain range in the distance.  It was set in 256 acres of beautiful gum trees with granite rocks and native flowers. 

Patients were fed on the best food, plenty of fresh meat, eggs, milk, and vegetables.  They also had plenty of fresh air.  The large wards had no windows, but were fitted with canvas blinds which were rolled down when the weather was severe.  The San became quite famous among servicemen and there were requests to be transferred to Kyoomba from men from other states.  Some of the early settlers in the fruit industry were men whose cure was effected at the San.  Some of the Soldier Settlers were treated as outpatients during this period.

One of the happiest memories in the conduct of the institution was the constant care and attention given by Mrs C.F. White as Red Cross representative during the whole life of the Sanatorium.  Every week she and her family attended and provided dainty afternoon teas and concert parties, arranged transport for patients to any functions they could visit in town, and each year arranged trips to orchards and vineyards in the season, as well as trips around the district in the off season.  The care of the “San Boys” was her main object in life, and every one of them deeply appreciated her kindly and sympathetic interest in them.