Our history as a hospital
Hospital ward for US Forces 1942–1944
The construction of the rehabilitation centre and hospital was authorised in early 1941. The Initial plans of the buildings had a total floor area of 66,500 square feet, and provided accommodation for 450 patients.
Water was to be supplied to the hospital by pumping from a well near the river bank to two 30,000 gallon reservoirs, 300 feet above the river, and by gravitation from there to the hospital. The buildings were heated by steam.
The construction of the hospital commenced in September 1941 and was completed in May 1942. Shortly after, the institution was handed over to the US Navy and enlarged to accommodate 1,200 patients. This figure was later increased to 1,600.
The completed hospital consisted of 46 buildings and had a total floor area of 143,000 square feet. All services had to be increased in proportion. For example, two further 30,000 gallon reservoirs and one of 250,000 gallons were constructed.
The hospital was in use by the US Navy from August 1942 to April 1944, and during this time approximately 20,000 patients were treated. For short periods the accommodation was taxed to such an extent that the gymnasium, part of the staff quarters and even part of the theatre block were used as wards.
During occupation by the US Navy all maintenance work and operation of services at the hospital was carried out by the Public Works Department. The total cost of that work was £293,000. The institution was later taken over by the Wellington Hospital Board for the accommodation of long term patients.
All photos on this page supplied courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.