The Queen Alexandra Maternity Hospital (the Queen Alex) opened in Hampden Road, Battery Point in 1908. Initially, a private board ran it but in 1950 the government took over. In 1980, it moved to a new building in Argyle Street, adjacent to the Royal Hobart Hospital. Over its lifetime, many adoptions took place from the Queen Alex. It closed in 1999.
The Queen Alex was an initiative of women's groups who wished to provide more help to women in childbirth. Funds for the Hospital came from money raised to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII and other public subscriptions. It was named after Queen Alexandra and commemorated the reign of Queen Victoria.
The Queen Alex, which had a capacity for 11 mothers, was in a new custom built double storey brick building. The Mercury described its rooms as 'large and airy'. The wards on both floors had double doors which opened onto a 'large octagonal hall'. The Chief Health Officer, JSC Elkington, had approved the plans as 'embodying the latest hygienic principles'. The Mercury report of its opening said:
The hospital is built on the most approved sanitary plan, there being no projections on which germs and dust may accumulate and the angles of the walls and ceilings are rounded off. There are no skirting boards, and all the doors have a smooth surface, there being no panels or moulding.
After the government took over the management of the Queen Alex it became increasingly close to the Royal Hobart Hospital, also run by the government. This explains why, in 1980, it moved to Argyle Street to a purpose built building adjacent to the Royal.
Many adoptions took place from the Queen Alex with an unknown number of them being forced.
The Queen Alex closed in 1999 and the government sold the new building in Argyle Street to a private consortium that used it to establish the Hobart Private Hospital.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Alexandra Hospital: the opening ceremony: speech by Lady Strickland', The Mercury, 31 January 1908, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12683269; Queen Alexandra women's hospital: a division of the Royal Hobart Hospital: Information, Queen Alexandra Maternity Hospital, Hobart, 1980, 8 pp; Alexander, Alison, 'Midwifery', in The Companion to Tasmanian History, Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, Hobart, 2005, http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/M/Midwifery.htm; Joint Select Committee, Parliament of Tasmania, Adoption and Related Services 1950-1988, 1999, http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/Ctee/reports/adopt.pdf; Norris, Cheryl, Time line: 1803-2008: development of nursing education and the Royal Hobart Hospital, Cheryl Norris, Hobart, 2010, 66 pp; Rimmer, WG, Portrait of a hospital: the Royal Hobart, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, 1981, 328 pp.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 5 May 2014, Last modified: 12 June 2014