From 1932 to 2003: The Rise and Fall of Turrawan Private Hospital

Turrawan Private Hospital
Photo credit: Google Street View

Did you know that the Carolyn Hauff Boarding House in Clayfield College boarding house was once the stately Turrawan Private Hospital? Get to know the story behind this elegant brick structure that once served as a pillar of healthcare in the community for over 70 years.

Read: Clayfield: Revisiting the Historical Places That Made This Suburb Great

Known for its elegant red brick structure with its distinctive Georgian Revival architectural flair, this building has a rich history closely linked to the development of the local area.

The hospital was the vision of Matron Amy Olive Aitkin, a dedicated nurse who purchased the land on New Sandgate Road in 1932. 

Turrawan Private Hospital
Nurses at the hospital, approximately in early 1940s (Photo credit: Pam Jansons/Old Brisbane Album – Facebook)

Aitkin commissioned prominent local architect Eric Percival Trewern to design the two-story masonry building, which was hailed by the Brisbane City Council upon its completion that November as “an exceptionally fine hospital.”

Turrawan Private Hospital
‘Turrawan Hospital, Clayfield, 1948′ (Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Matron Aitkin had already been operating the “Turrawin” Private Hospital nearby for around four years, but now had a permanent home for her passion. Trewern’s classic design with tiled roof and Victorian-era flourishes created an elegant yet welcoming environment for Matron Aitkin’s patients.

Photo credit: Brisbane’s Heritage Register

Less than three years later, Trewern was brought back to expand the hospital with additional wings for operating theatres and extra rooms. As medical technology advanced, many smaller private hospitals were unable to keep up with the stringent requirements imposed by the Queensland Department of Health. Yet Turrawan continued adapting and expanding, cementing its status as one of the leading independent hospitals in the area.

In 1960, the hospital purchased a neighbouring property that contained an attractive 1920s timber residence. This became the new nurses’ quarters, allowing Turrawan to increase its care capacity. Matron Aitkin eventually sold the hospital in 1971, but its service to the community continued for another three decades under new ownership.

A postcard for the Turrawan Private Hospital in 1979 (Photo credit: Julie Watt/Old Brisbane Album – Facebook)

Generations of Brisbane residents were born at Turrawan or healed within its walls. Even after closing in 2003 and being acquired by nearby Clayfield College, the hospital’s Georgian brick facade stands as a monument to healthcare and perseverance. Its proximity to Clayfield’s former tram terminus is a reminder of the suburb’s development around it.

Read: Church to Home Conversion on Bonney Avenue Hits the Market

Today, the historic building serves as Carolyn Hauff Boarding House, a boarding house for Clayfield College students, giving the structure a new chapter whilst preserving its legacy. 

Matron Aitkin’s vision resulted in a hospital that rose above challenges and adapted to meet the needs of its patients. The enduring legacy of Turrawan Private Hospital remains a proud part of Clayfield’s living history.

Published 3-October-2023