Fairfield ‘culture of care’ sustained

Fairfield NMITIT’S my opinion that one of the most beautiful campuses of any tertiary institution in Victoria is North Melbourne Institute of TAFE, at Yarra Bend Road, Fairfield. Recently partnered with Swinburne University and renamed Melbourne Polytechnic, NMIT has several thriving campuses around North Melbourne, but Fairfield is definitely the most attractive.

Manicured gardens, and turn-of-the-century architecture reminiscent of the ornate terra cotta -roofed Queen Anne style make it an unusual educational environment. Students of higher-education degrees in the business culture of music, graphic arts and publishing can mingle with future veterinarians, horticulturists, accountants, engineers or beauty therapists, from more than 500 nationally accredited certificate and diploma courses.

The campus was formerly the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, famous for its ‘culture of care’, and for its World War II heroine, matron Vivian Bullwinkel. The ethos of care and education survives in these historic premises, preparing students of all ages and backgrounds for a 21st-century bursting with possibilities.

Until I can work out how to embed a longer video, here’s a half-minute grab of Open Day at Fairfield NMIT: http://www.nmit.edu.au/nmit-youtube-channels/slam-student-life-media/   (That should open in a new window.) With an unusual amount of e-luck, the longer video, about being a student, will be at the end of this post.

Meanwhile, a brief history lesson may be in order: Victoria in the 1860s was rife with fatally infectious diseases, and although a ‘fever hospital’ was urgently needed, bureaucracy hindered the opening of the Fairfield hospital until 1904.  In the light of the potential Ebola virus epidemic today, it is to be hoped that our citizens have become less tolerant of laggardly health care than they were then.

Admissions to the hospital had peaked during the post-World War I epidemics of Spanish flu and polio. When World War II erupted in 1939,  720 beds and 56 wards accommodated 3100 to 6800 patients a year. Fairfield was then a training hospital for the treatment of typhoid, diphtheria, cholera, smallpox, scarlet fever. Then came HIV/AIDS, and by the late 1980s admissions had leapt to 10,000 a year. Laboratories and a research centre, now the Macfarlane Burnet Institute, were opened, as Fairfield Hospital gained international recognition for its expertise in research and its innovative multidisciplinary health teams.

In 1996, despite community outrage, a short-sighted government closed this sole Australian hospital dedicated to treating infectious disease. Today, much of the site is occupied by the Melbourne Polytechnic-NMIT. The nurses’ quarters have been refurbished as Yarra House, an on-campus residence for students, where above a door to one of the corridors is a simple, painted door-plaque bearing the name of  Vivian Bullwinkel – Fairfield Hospital’s Director of Nursing from 1961 to 1977. Already a famous Australian, she was destined to be one of the nation’s most celebrated nurses. In another post I’ll elaborate on Vivian Bullwinkel’s story.

It is ironic to consider how her career might have been affected in the time of World War I when, in the interests of Australia’s national security, all businesses having links with Germany were ordered to cease trading, and anyone with a German-sounding name was ignorantly suspected of being a collaborator. Anyone of German nationality could be detained indefinitely without charge  in an internment camp — and thousands were.   Sadly, a variation on this theme is taking place today in so-called peace time. But could you imagine an Australian Member of Parliament being interned as an ‘enemy alien’ even then?  It happened in Hahnsdorf, South Australia, to an elected parliamentarian whose second-generation son was a medical specialist in London.

It would be a welcome indication of a more mature Australia, if, like the former Fairfield Hospital, our nation once again truly deserved to be known worldwide for its ‘culture of care’.

 

Advertisements

About quillpoweronline

I'm an editor at Quillpower PR Publishing. Specialising in 'things that are lovely and of good report'. I work with writers to gently brush away irrelevancies to reveal the buried treasure, or chisel meaning from a block of text. As an accredited editor (Inst. Prof. Editors Ltd) with experience in advertising, public relations, news and feature writing and editing for all media I help communicators put a professional shine on their message. But here on the blog, it's after hours, and I may do an elongated tweet every now and then, point up an absurdity, or simply post one of my ancient scribbles before it and I crumble into dust. BTW, WordPress chooses the ads (if any) on my blog. Quid pro quo.
This entry was posted in Biographies, Freedom to Think, Methinks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fairfield ‘culture of care’ sustained

  1. Jett says:

    For the last 7 days I have been really looking on online
    in hopes of coming across sites with any kind of info about
    harvard foosball tables reviews and stumbled on https://quillpoweronline.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/fairfield-culture-of-care-sustained-at-nmit/. Thank you for writing this helpful info.
    Believe it or not, this is the most useful site I have saw with any good info on the topic.
    I really just want to write thanks, this was totally what I needed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s