While Tenterfield’s CWA Day Branch may be no more, its legacy will live on through the new CWA Unit keeping family members close to loved ones in Tenterfield Hospital.
The quarters in the Nurses Home on the hospital campus were renovated by some of the proceeds from the sale of CWA House, a major asset of the group which formed in 1929. Former member Janet Hayne – who is also involved with the Tenterfield Hospital Auxiliary – said the branch was active for many years but a decline in membership eventually led to its demise.
What was to become known as CWA House in Molesworth St was acquired in 1935. In addition to hosting meetings for both the day and evening branches (the latter continues to be active) the premises were also used as a boarding house and baby clinic before eventually becoming office space and then a rental residence.
Proceeds from its sale in 2013 went to CWA head office but the local Day Branch applied to use some of that money to benefit the local community. Mrs Hayne approached then-hospital manager Michael Moore seeking ideas for a suitable project, and he suggested an accommodation unit on hospital grounds for family members of patients.
The application was successful in securing $50,700, which was invested in renovating part of the nurses home for the purpose.
The hospital auxiliary put in a few more thousand dollars in furnishings, and the result is a cosy twin-share unit with all the basics required for a short stay including a kitchen, bathroom and living room. The auxiliary is looking to provide more sleeping options with a fold-out sofa or similar.
Hospital manager Tony Roberts can attest to the convenience, having lived there for several weeks when he first took up the position and was between homes.
“It’s going to be a fantastic resource,” he said.
The unit also came in handy when a visiting paramedic undertaking relief work needed a temporary home, and visiting medical staff can also make use of it if required to stay overnight. Mr Roberts said the visiting palliative care nurse also takes advantage of the facility in order to offer more contact hours over multi-day visits.
“It’s good for the town, and good for the patient,” Mr Roberts said.
Mrs Hayne said the unit will really prove its worth, however, when it comes to the aid of an out-of-town family member who finds themselves at the hospital late at night after their loved one is admitted unexpectedly.
“It can take away some of the stress,” she said.
“It may not need to be used often, but it’s there when needed.”
It can take away some of the stress.Janet Hayne
Officially opened in June, the unit is still undergoing some decorating touches with artworks donated by former CWA Day Branch member Dianna Watson to adorn the walls.
Brass plaques which used to mark the support of community members of various rooms in the original CWA House have been mounted on timber by Bob Mitchell and will take pride of place in the new CWA Unit, to honour the origins of the facility.
These include the Lilias Donnelly Room, The William E. Downey Memorial Room, the Steinbrook Room, the Miriam Smith Room and the Joyce Warner Memorial Room.