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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Buckland Hospital & Park

The Sydney Morning Herald announced in June 1934 that Harold Montague Buckland (youngest son of Sir Thomas and wife Mary Doris nee Kirkpatrick) and D. McPhee Smith, architects, were preparing plans for the erection of Buckland Hospital at Springwood.[1]  The building of a hospital had largely been made possible by a generous gift of £100,000 from philanthropist, businessman, gold-miner, and pastoralist Sir Thomas Buckland.[2]  The first trustees of the facility were Buckland (president), Bishop Kirby, Dr C.A. Hogg, Messrs R.W. Gillespie, D.W. Roxborough and A.J. Taylor and the secretary was Mr. H. Cowper.[3]
In January 1936, the same newspaper announced that Premier Mr Bertram Stevens would officiate at the opening of the hospital on the following Saturday.[4]  It is significant, because of its present-day use, to note that originally it was intended to function as a ‘convalescent mental home for women.’  Today, although its convalescent facilities have been retained, the property is also a retirement home to both men and women. The hospital,  situated on 130 acres of land (previously known as Euchora and owned by James Norton) was constructed by Kell & Rigby.
The Sydney Morning Herald went on to reveal that connection of hospital, and indeed the villages in the lower mountains to a permanent water supply - by the State Government -  had been a condition imposed by Buckland on his endowment.  It is also noteworthy that the name ‘Lyndhurst,’ the most recent addition of retirement units in the grounds of Buckland, was named for Sir Thomas Buckland’s Hunters Hill home.[5] 
The photograph below illustrates the festive atmosphere in Springwood on the day that Sir Bertram Stevens turned the permanent water supply on.  The ceremony was held in parkland purchased by the council from the Silva Plana estate of the then deceased John Frazer.  The park was named in Buckland's honour, but only after a great deal of controversy, and today the, albeit reduced, is the site of the Springwood War Memorial and Baxter Memorial Gates.  

Official ceremony in Buckland Park to mark
 turning on water supply

[1] Sydney Morning Herald, 26.6.1934, p. 3.
[2] R.F. Holder, ‘Buckland, Sir Thomas (1848-1947),’ Australian Dictionary of Biography, online edition,
[3] Sydney Morning Herald, 26.6.1934.
[4] Sydney Morning Herald, 21.1.1936.
[5] R.F. Holder.

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