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Austin and Repat celebrate 25 years together

3 April 2020

It's a love affair spanning 25 years: this week in 1995, the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital merged with Austin Hospital and Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre. Here's our Veteran Liaison, Robert Winther, on his memories of the changeover.

The hospital merger was most momentous for those at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, which also transferred from the federal to the state health system.

Robert Winther recalls the process as “somewhat endless” – extending from the shock of the announcement in 1988 through to the amalgamation of major services following the merger, “some of the big ones being the Emergency Department, the Intensive Care Unit and Coronary Care Unit.”

Rob says that life at the Repat back then had “a different feel compared to the size of Austin Health. We all generally knew each other and were working for the veteran community, a very special group of people.”

Rob himself has worked for the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital for 50 years and seen a lot of change over the years. Nonetheless, he says that 2020 is one that he won’t forget.

“The current COVID-19 challenge is showing how good the staff of Austin Health are at coming together in a common battle, let alone in the standard of their daily work. This challenge will make Austin Health stronger in the long run. The year 2020 will be one that people will not forget.”

And he says that the old Repat values are as important as ever during our current challenges:

“Care and Compassion will see us through.”

A commemorative service for veterans at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital
A commemorative service for veterans at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital
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