Remembering the contributions of those before us


Have you ever wondered how the Centaur Wing got its name?

Sadly it can be traced back to a tragic event which claimed the lives of three of our former staff members.

The Centaur Wing, which opened in 1945, was named after the hospital ship the Centaur which was sunk by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine on 14 May 1943 about 65 kilometres north-east from Brisbane. The ship had been route to Papua New Guinea.

Three of the nurses who perished on the ship - Sister Alice O'Donnell, Sister Eileen Rutherford and Sister Wendy Walker, had worked at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.

Of the 332 people onboard the Centaur, only 64 survived. The survivors spent 35 hours clinging to rafts before being rescued.

The Centaur's wreck was located in December 2009.

Austin Health Veteran Liaison Officer (and history buff) Robert Winther said the wing was named to honour the memories of the nurses.

"It is important to remember the contribution of these women and the many others who served during a period of world conflict," Mr Winther said.

This photograph was taken in 1944 and shows the Centaur Wing under construction. The men pictured were all patients at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.