Located in a quadrangle, surrounded by the ‘new’ buildings of the Manning Base Hospital is the 125 year old building called the Victoria Fever Ward. The ward was built in 1897 and named in honour of Australia’s then longest serving monarch, Queen Victoria, on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee (60 years). The feature stone was laid on the official Jubilee date of 22 June 1897.1
Typically fever (or isolation) wards of the late 1800s were built as separate structures from the main hospital so that patients with contagious diseases could be isolated. In January 1903, for example, there were eight cases of typhoid in the Fever Ward including six from one family.2 During WWII the ward accommodated patients with outbreaks of gastro enteritis, diphtheria, measles, mumps, meningitis and influenza, some of which originated in the army camps located in the Manning Valley.3
The building’s use has been adapted over time and in 1969 it was converted into the Victoria Ward Assessment and Retraining Unit (established 1967 using funds from Rotary) which provided rehabilitation for people affected by stroke. This unit was an innovation for rural hospitals.
When the new hospital was built in 1954 the old hospital was demolished except for the Victoria Fever Ward.4 It is now the only surviving element of the old hospital complex and a rare building of this type left in NSW.5
In 2022 the Stage 2 plans for the Manning Base Hospital redevelopment indicate that this building is to be demolished to make way for the new.6
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Manning River Times, 22 January 1898, 7.
2 Manning River Times, 21 January 1903, 2.
3 Heritage Group Department of Public Works and Services, “The Victoria Fever Ward, Manning Base Hospital, Conservation Management Plan”, September 1999, 40.
4 Manning River Times, 21 July 1954, 1.
5 Conservation Management Plan, September 1999, 41; Search of newspapers and Heritage NSW heritage listing database.
6 Manning River Times, 19 January 2022, https://www.manningrivertimes.com.au/story/7586542/manning-base-hospital-stage-ii-project-unveiled/