Local community recognised at hospital silver anniversary

Local community members who helped raise funds to construct new buildings at St John of God Geraldton Hospital in 1992 were recognised at the hospital’s recent 25th anniversary celebrations of the facilities.

St John of God Geraldton Hospital 25th anniversary celebrations
St John of God Geraldton Hospital CEO Paul Dyer said the local community raised $1.8 million towards the cost of constructing the new building for the hospital, which has been serving the area since 1935. 

Mr Dyer said at the time the current hospital buildings were ageing and they needed to be replaced with newer and larger facilities that would better serve the future needs of the community.

“As a not for profit, the organisation did not have the ability to provide all the funding which put the project at risk, but the organisation went to the local community for help and they happily stepped in to assist,” he said.

“Ian Bogle, who chaired the local fundraising committee, and Julie Boschetti, who coordinated the local fishing fundraising group, both played a pivotal role in raising the funds.”

Ms Boschetti, who has been an important member of the Hospital Auxiliary since 1992 said many individuals and small and large businesses provided donations, along with key medical practitioners in the town.

“Everyone could see that it was essential for the cities growth that we maintained a private hospital in the region,” Ms Boshetti said.

“It was great to see the support from many surrounding shires, businesses and key medical practices in the town, along with the general community providing donations.”

Mr Dyer said that all St John of God Health Care hospitals take pride in embedding themselves in their local communities, with many people in these communities feeling emotionally “invested” in the hospitals.

“In Geraldton that investment has extended beyond that, to people having a financial stake in keeping a St John of God presence in the region,” said Mr Dyer. “That is unique in our organisation.”

“To this day, that engagement continues, with many people thinking of St John of God Geraldton Hospital as “their” hospital.

The buildings were opened in 1992 by the then Deputy Premier Ian Taylor and newly-appointed Bishop Justin Bianchini, who attended his first official event for the area and blessed the new facilities.

Bishop Bianchini, who is retiring soon, was acknowledged by Mr Dyer at the anniversary event for his ongoing support of the hospital over the past 25 years.

“It is fitting that this 25th anniversary celebration will be one of Bishop Justin’s last official duties as our Bishop, and is evidence on his long term commitment to engaging with the hospital, its patients and its caregivers,” Mr Dyer said.

St John of God Geraldton Hospital is a 60-bed facility providing high quality private medical and surgical care, including maternity and hospice services, to people living in the Mid West region.