Were you born at Meramie Private Hospital? If so, you are one of many who began life there.
In 1919 Jessie Burt (known as Alma) purchased the home of C H (Charles Hunter) Griffith, ‘Delaware’, 597 Kiewa Street and renamed it Meramie. She had previously operated a private hospital from the corner of Wyse and Victoria Streets.
Miss Burt had been engaged to marry, but after the death of her fiancé, her brother-in-law Dr Robertson encouraged her to establish a hospital which catered for medical, surgical and midwifery patients.
An early business card from Meramie listed “fees from three guineas” and the requirements for a confinement included napkins, petticoats, gowns, 12 yards of butter muslin, flannel binders, lysol and castor oil.
Meramie was known as a ‘home away from home’ and advertisements for ‘capable girl to cook’ and ‘good plain cook, references required’ perhaps indicate that the meals were of a high standard.
Staff members included the formidable Sister Smith and Sister Kit Fletcher, with Sister Lucy Staton relieving.
In 1923 Miss Burt advertised for a ‘probationer’ suggesting that young women could receive formal training at Meramie.
It is interesting to note that Miss Burt herself became Sister Burt when she was listed on the Register of Nurses in a 1927 Government Gazette.
There were about five private hospitals in Albury in the twenties and thirties but most closed down in the early forties although Boortkoi was leased by the Albury District Hospital for maternity cases until Blackie House was opened in 1947.
Meramie was sold to Mr Bragg in 1943 and in 1949 it was purchased by Murray Valley Coaches for an annexe to their purpose built lodge on the corner of Kiewa and Swift Streets.
They sold the building in 1955.
Meramie is remembered as a really comfortable hospital, with a beautiful garden enjoyed from the large verandahs.
In the front grounds were two magnificent trees – a Blue Spruce and a Liquidambar. When the current motel was being built on the northern side of Meramie, the Blue Spruce was cut down. There was a public outcry but of course that didn’t bring the tree back. The Liquidambar followed.
Over the last decades, Meramie has also been used for offices, a restaurant and student accommodation for Charles Sturt University.
Visit the Albury & District Historical Society website at https//alburyhistory.org.au/ for more information, local history and photographs.
The society’s first meeting for 2018 is on February 14.