Bock sisters helped to deliver Murray Bridge

During the early 1900s there were many private hospitals in Murray Bridge, but with the opening of the local Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in 1923 many closed down.

The one that was efficient enough to remain was Sister Bock’s Private Hospital, at 72 Adelaide Road, which became a maternity hospital.

Sisters Edith and Laura Bock ran the hospital together with Sisters Parker and Young. Doctors in attendance were CN McQuarie, FR Wicks, NH Munday and HF Wickens.

Some of the bursing staff were W Pfeiffer, Gilbert Daley, L Pym, “Girlie” Pilmore, McRae, Hately, Bell, Schottelius, and Baker.

The building was built in the early 20th century, with a large double-fronted villa constructed of sandstone, with red brick quoins, a verandah that extended across the front of the projecting bay and the gable and prominent gablet with highly ornamental iron valence and post brackets.

Some of the daily chores in a hospital at that time would have been arduous – wood stoves were used for cooking, ice chests for food, wood heaters for bathing and the daily washing of all the hospital linen would have been horrendous.

The water would be boiled in a wood fired copper and a long wooden stick used to transfer the very hot linen, then through the hand wringer, to the rinsing water.

The second rinse, blued to make the articles look whiter. The items would then be hung out on a line held up with long poles. Any tough stains would be scrubbed using soap on a washing board.

All linen would be starched and ironed on a large table covered with a blanket and sheet, using a heavy coal-filled iron or a cast iron, iron heated on a wood stove.

In June 1933, the sisters wrote to the Corporation of Murray Bridge asking for the cancellation of their private hospital, which had been purchased for use for other purposes.

(Mt Barker Courier 28 July 1933 pg 1)

In 1933, Sister Laura became too unwell and went back to Queensland with her sister Edith. Laura died in 1956 and Edith died in 1959 in a private hospital in Brisbane, Queensland.

As many locals were born in Sister Bock’s Hospital, we would love to hear of any these stories that have been told relating to time stayed or other connections to the hospital. Email mbhistorical@hotmail.com

Murray Bridge & District Historical Society Inc.

“A Community our Past”​