| 14 Mar 2023

50 years on: nurses return to Timaru Hospital where they did their training

Fifteen women who began their training as nurses at Timaru Hospital 50 years ago took a walk down memory lane this week (Monday March 13), with a tour of the facilities.

The nurses used to stay onsite during their training and earnt $32 a week and paid $8 of that for the room costs.

The visit was hosted by Anna Wheeler Te Whatu Ora interim Director of Nursing and Midwifery for South Canterbury and formed part of the women’s 50 year celebration reunion. For some, it was their first time back at the hospital in decades.

Others had enjoyed long careers working in Timaru, with reunion co-ordinator, Margot Goodman leaving the hospital as recently as 14 months ago.

“I worked at the hospital for 21 years and saw a few changes, and there have been changes since I left with the renovations,” she said.

Another nurse, Christine Mather had spent 47 years at Timaru Hospital and had worked for 20 years in the day patients’ ward before finishing in December 2020.

The women all enjoyed their training in Timaru and really appreciated being able to look around the facilities 50 years later.

Memories were sparked when they saw the bedrooms hadn’t changed on the 7th Floor in the Gardens Block Building which was previously the nurses home.


Interim director of nursing and midwifery Anna Wheeler and the nurses who trained at Timaru Hospital 50 years ago before the tour of the facilities commenced


Interim director of nursing and midwifery Anna Wheeler (left) and the nurses in the main entrance

nurses room

One of the room in the Gardens Block building that looks the same as it did 50 years ago