For many years Rawson House (or Rawson Private Hospital as it was also known) was a prominent feature of the Wagga Base Hospital precinct.

Originally built in 1910 as the Nurses Home, and extended in 1925, it wasn’t until 1937 that the building was remodelled for use as the Private and Intermediate Wards of the Hospital.

A meeting of the Hospital Board on October 12, 1937 decided to honour the late John Rawson of Milbrulong by naming the private section the “Rawson Private Hospital”. Rawson was one of the Hospital’s main benefactors year after year, but had always requested that no publicity be generated concerning any of his donations. Even during the Great Depression, when the Hospital was in financial crisis, Rawson made a much needed donation of five hundred pounds.

Rawson Private Hospital was later demolished despite protests from many, including the Rawson Family. The Hospitals’ Commission instructed the Base Hospital Board to demolish the building as early as 1962, with the space to be utilised for much needed car parking space. The Board’s requests to use Rawson House as a kiosk or board room were also declined.

Debate continued for several years but tenders for the demolition were eventually called for in November 1967. Despite the Base Hospital Board earlier deciding to call the third floor of the main Hospital “the Rawson Private Floor”, this decision was later rescinded, to the disappointment of the Rawson Family.

Later in 1987 a lane at the back of the Hospital complex was named Rawson Lane in honour of John Rawson.

 

Rawson House 1963 (RW2706.48)
Rawson House in the foreground 1963 (CSU Regional Archives – RW2706.48).

References:

“A Delicate Balance – A History of the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital” by Sherry Morris.

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