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Leap year an opportunity to reflect on rich history of PA Hospital

29 February 2024

The Princess Alexandra Hospital has been continuing to grow and deliver for its community since it was first built in 1956, with the most recent $350 million expansion funding a testament to that.  

The unveiling of the original facility in 1956 was not only a historic moment in healthcare for Brisbane South, but it also fell on a leap year. Now 68 years (or 17 leap years) later, Metro South Health is planning for the newest era of one of Queensland’s largest teaching hospitals. 

PAH Executive Director Dr Jeremy Wellwood said while the future looks extremely bright for the hospital, it’s important to remember the history of the Woolloongabba site. 

“With 2024 being a leap year and somewhat of a unique moment, what better opportunity to look back on previous leap years that have been momentous for our site and our staff.

“A lot can change in four years, and it’s incredible to sift through the rich history that’s made us the remarkable tertiary hospital we are today,” he said. 

From the early days of 1956, to ten leap years later in 1996, excitement was building for the campus’ first major redevelopment project. PAH was allocated $8 million of the overall budget to allow capital works to start.

An internal newsletter from October 1996 read, ‘We have an exciting and busy future together creating a new vision for our hospital and developing it as a legacy to future generations. It will be one of the biggest hospital complexes in the Southern Hemisphere.’

Fast forward one more leap year to 2000, and that legacy started to become reality with staff beginning to transition to the new building.

A demolition party marked the closure of the Day Surgery Unit which was the first to make the move to the new hospital. An Open Day was also held with around 2000 visitors and staff touring the site, which was nearing completion.

Six more leap years later to 2024, and the serpentine shape that defines PA’s identity continues to be a home for high-quality care for South East Queensland communities. 

“We are very proud of our home here at PA and are lucky to have the facilities we have. But we must keep planning for the future,” said Dr Wellwood. 

“Works will start on the vertical expansion of our emergency department later this year, delivering an additional 249 beds by the second half of 2026. 

“So when we mark the next leap year, the four new clinical floors above ED will well and truly be operational which is exciting to think about.

“With so many incredible achievements to reflect on, I’m certainly looking forward to what the future holds for us here at PA,” he said. 

Last updated 29 February 2024
Last reviewed 29 February 2024

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