Lesley Hewitt

Daylesford Hospital has served our community for 160 years. Each generation has worked hard to adapt the existing buildings to meet the needs of their time – whether it be typhoid in the 1890s or minor surgery in the 1990s. The timeline below shows shows significant events in the development of our Hospital since its inception in 1861 and shows how the community has contributed to developing the Hospital to meet emerging needs.

Daylesford Hospital provides an essential service to its community. In an earlier article, we identified the urgent and critical need for an upgrade to the Daylesford Hospital so that health care can continue to meet the standards of the 21st century. It is time for our generation to continue this 160-year tradition of developing a hospital to meet the needs of the community.

A public meeting will be held on 28 July at 5.00 pm to establish a community based Campaign Committee to achieve this much needed upgrade. All members of the community are welcome.

The number of people who have so far indicated an interest in attending exceeds the space available in the Hospital Board room so the meeting will be held in the Senior Citizens room at the Daylesford Town Hall.

Timeline of the Daylesford Hospital

  • Jan 1861 Provisional Hospital Committee formed.
  • Sep 1861 Grant of 5 acres of land gazetted
  • Oct 1861 Bruce Bros tender for hospital build accepted
  • Dec 1861 Hospital Foundation Stone laid
  • May 1862 Hospital officially opened
  • July 862 First House Surgeon, Matron and Wardsman appointed
  • 1890s Typhoid prevalent. Daylesford Council suggests housing patients in a tent
  • 1894 Hon W. E. Stanbridge bequeathed 1000 pounds for female ward
  • 1896 P. Rodgers commenced building 2 female wards and nurses’ bedroom
  • May 1897 Wards completed and opened by the Hon Sir W. A Zeal MLC, President of Victorian Legislative Council
  • 1935 Major re-modelling to complete wards, theatre and kitchen considered by Hospital Committee
  • 1958 Modern nurses home built and opened by Dr J. H Lindell, Chair of Hospital and Charities Commission
  • 1964 Stage 1 of re-modelling program completed
  • May 1964 Physiotherapy block opened by Dr J.C. M Harper
  • 1970 Stage 2 re-modelling program approved and tender accepted
  • 1971 Official opening of the Administration Block and Hospital Extensions
  • 1972 Meals on Wheels service commenced (managed by Hospital)
  • 1974 Smoking in Wards ceased
  • 1978 Future Hospital services in question, meeting held re need for additional medical practitioners
  • 1980 New Board room opened
  • 1983 Discussions held with Victorian Health Commission re Hospital finances
  • 1984 Recognition that a long-term plan based on community need was required
  • 1986 Report on future of Hospital written by Dr Brian Cole and Mr Charles Grant presented to the Victorian Premier John Cain
  • 1990 Major refurbishment completed, including new Theatre wing, 20 acute beds and 15 nursing home beds
  • Jan 1995 Daylesford Hospital and Creswick Hospital amalgamated to form Western Highlands Health Service
  • 1998 Hepburn Health Service formed, through amalgamation of Western Highlands Health Service, Trentham Bush Nursing Hospital and Clunes Health Service
  • Feb 2000 Masterplan and feasibility study completed for Daylesford Hospital
  • Dec 2003 Major redevelopment of Hospital completed and opened by Bronwyn Pike, Victorian Minister for Health
  • 2008 Obstetrics ceased due to inability to meet current standards
  • 2009 Construction of Springs Medical Service on Hospital land completed
  • 2019 Creation of Central Highland Rural Health through amalgamation of Hepburn Health and Kyneton District Health
  • 2020 Report by Blight and Blight on Daylesford Hospital infrastructure recommends significant upgrade

We acknowledge information from Daylesford Hospital Celebrating 150 Years – Servicing the Daylesford & surrounding community 1862 – 2012

For further information contact Cr Lesley Hewitt or Kate Redwood by email. We will keep interested people informed about developments and about meeting times, dates and venues.


Lesley Hewitt is a Councillor for Birch Ward.


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Next week: The health needs in the Daylesford District – treating and preventing chronic disease.