Daylesford Hospital was officially opened on 22 May 1862 so this May, we are celebrating 160 years of serving the people of Daylesford and the surrounding districts! Yesterday our Board of Directors and Executives were pleased to meet with Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Hepburn Shire Council's Mayor Drylie, Cr Henderson, Cr Hewitt, Cr Hood, the Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Appeal Committee and members of the community to honour the hospital's history and discuss it's future after visiting the ‘Daylesford Hospital 160 Year Celebration and Masterplan Presentation’ exhibition. We warmly invite members of our community to visit exhibition at Daylesford & District Historical Society (open daily from 10-2 until 29 May)
Daylesford Hospital was built by the people for the people, and has continued to provide essential healthcare for 160 years. The hospital was opened in 1862 but since then a lot has changed, including the addition of a residential aged care facility and community health services, both of which have become increasingly important to our communities. Its facilities now need to be upgraded to be able to continue to meet contemporary standards and community expectations.
Members of the community formed the Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Appeal committee in 2021, to drive a campaign to ensure the future viability of their local health service through the commissioning of a Masterplan to redevelop the Daylesford Hospital precinct. The Masterplan is a vital roadmap, to redevelop the hospital, aged care, and community health services provided by Central Highlands Rural Health.
Committee Chair, Cr Lesley Hewitt, said “The Daylesford and surrounding residents need access to local health care now, and into the future. Access to modern health facilities shouldn’t be determined by postcode, all Victorians should have up-to-date facilities. It is essential that we act today to protect the future of the Daylesford Hospital and thus the health and wellbeing of our family, friends and neighbours. The Committee is thrilled to have raised the funds needed for the Masterplan in just 8 weeks with support from the Daylesford District Community Bank. This goes to show that there is strong community support for the redevelopment.”
Due to the generosity of local donors, Central Highlands Rural Health was able to work with an expert team of engineers and architect consultants, led by Blight, Blight & Blight Architecture to develop plans for the future. Central Highlands Rural Health consulted the community and key stakeholders on the health needs of the community and key ideas to create a vision and structured Masterplan for the redevelopment of the Daylesford Hospital precinct on its current site. Ideas were conveyed through conversations at the Daylesford Town Hall on 25 November 2021 and via written submissions. Extensive staged consultation workshops were undertaken with the existing health service departments, to align governments and local health requirements and standards, to develop a brief that conveys what is required in the delivery of health services. This consultation process defined a facility which was not just more efficient and generous, but a facility which was more open and better connected to the community.
Maree Cuddihy, CEO of Central Highlands Rural Health said, “We are very grateful to all those who contributed their ideas and feedback during our community consultation process. We are also extremely thankful for the $100,000 that has been raised by the local community to fund the roadmap for the future. The Masterplan includes a physical assessment of the condition of the existing buildings and engineering infrastructure, a review of the services we have been providing, and those that might be important in the future.”
The importance of respecting the history of the site was a central theme which came out of the consultation process, with a clearer definition of community needs and the potential to connect these services within a new facility. It was defined that this history was also a broad history, not only covering the recent past, but also to respect the traditional owners of the land. As well as understanding the past, the consultation process defined a vision of health services of the future, with an increase in community services and delivery of health services in a more open, higher amenity facility with greater connection to landscape, natural light and ventilation. The consultation process defined the needs of the Daylesford community and laid out a set of requirements which would need to be met to deliver the best standard of care for that community.
Following this process, the consultant team then began an equally extensive Masterplan design process. The masterplan process involved the development of multiple options which were assessed against the values and practicalities set out through the consultation process. These options were developed and reviewed by the consultant team in collaboration with members of the Daylesford Hospital working group until a preferred design option was developed. This option was then reviewed and further developed with the Victorian Health Building Authority who aided in refining the preferred design. Following the design and review process, a preferred master plan was accepted by Central Highlands Rural Health’s Board of Directors.
Peter Matthews, Chair of the Board of Directors, said, “The Board is proud to present the Masterplan and its aspirational design for the redevelopment of Daylesford Hospital in its 160th year and looks forward to working with stakeholders to realise the project.”
The Masterplan sets out a structured and staged vision to maintain current services and allow for future expansion of health services based on community needs, as defined by the Department of Health. The planning process has been lengthy, but the level of investigation and resolution has created a plan which is both practical and visionary in the short and long term. It sets out a long-term vision for the site, which will provide a roadmap for the community to ensure that critical health services are maintained for the community within the community.
All are welcome to view the ‘Daylesford Hospital 160 Year Celebration and Masterplan Presentation’ exhibition that will be on display at the Daylesford Historical Society (100 Vincent Street, Daylesford) from 10:00-2:00 daily for a week until Sunday 29 May. The exhibition will feature images and items from the hospital’s incredible history as well as images of the Masterplan. Recently, Mary-Anne Thomas MP and Hepburn Shire councillors viewed the Masterplan and provided positive feedback on the designs.
The history books show that the community have rallied each time the Hospital needs to be upgraded in order to meet their needs. Central Highlands Rural Health hopes to gain further community and government support for the proposed redevelopment.
For more information about Central Highlands Rural Health’s redevelopment projects, please visit: www.chrh.org.au/redevelopment
If you would like to support our redevelopment projects, please visit: www.chrh.org.au/donate