Devon Public Hospital opened in 1888 in Latrobe as the Devon Cottage Hospital. Initially, it was a private hospital but, on 24 July 1925, the government took it over. Although babies tended to be born at home, the Hospital's work included maternity services from which adoptions are likely to have taken place. On 10 January 1958, Devon Public Hospital merged with the Meercroft Hospital to become the Mersey General Hospital.
The Hospital was initially called the Devon Cottage Hospital. In 1903, it moved to a new site and became the Devon Public Hospital.
The maternity hospital opened in a separate building in August 1926. A year later, the Burnie Advocate described it as:
well arranged and contains bright wards, large sun wards and every modern convenience. The grounds are large, and are being improved daily, so that in a short time the surroundings will be very pleasing to the eye...The sun wards provide ample space for convalescent patients, and are much appreciated.
The Advocate portrayed the Hospital as an example of the latest scientific advances in obstetrics:
Leading authorities the world over are insistent on the value of such hospitals and it is noted everywhere that these institutions have materially reduced the death rate. That stands to reason, because in such hospitals the latest scientific methods of treatment and care are in vogue.
The maternity hospital was destroyed in 1956 shortly before the Devon Public Hospital merged with the Meercroft Hospital in Devonport. The maternity beds were concentrated at the old Meercroft Hospital. However, births continued to take place in Latrobe until 1963 when a new maternity hospital opened in Devonport.
1888 - 1958 Devon Public Hospital
1958 - 1995 Mersey General Hospital
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Devon Hospital Maternity Department: a valuable institution', Advocate (Burnie), 30 August 1927, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67770127; 'Years ago, one hospital served N. W. Coast', Advocate (Burnie), 30 September 1950, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69310041; Wettenhall, RL, A Guide to Tasmanian Government Administration, Platypus Publications, Hobart, 1968, 206 pp; Wilson, John R, A century of caring: Latrobe's Hospital 1887-1987: an illustrated history of the Devon Cottage Hospital, the Devon Public Hospital and the Mersey General Hospital in northern Tasmania, Graduate Nurses' Association Centennial Celebrations Committee, Mersey General Hospital, Latrobe, 1988, 306 pp.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 7 May 2014, Last modified: 14 May 2014