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Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin
Gordonvale Memorial Hospital was originally erected as an 8 bed hospital in memory of those who died in service or were killed in action during World War One. 

Mrs O'Neill, was the person most involved in organising the construction of a War Memorial Hospital in Gordonvale. Her two sons Act Sgt William O'Neill, and Second Lieutenant James Gordon O'Neill were killed in action. Fund raising for the original hospital started in September 1920 using both donations and government resources. The building was constructed by the Public Works Department and included a maternity ward. When it was officially opened by Lord Stonehaven, the Governor-General, in July 1926, it was fully equipped with the latest appliances purchased with funds raised by the Committee. The original building was subsequently demolished to make way for more extensive structures.

The modern Gordonvale Memorial Hospital has a marble plaque, removed from the original hospital, on the left wall of its entrance with a comprehensive history in a separate plaque below. Within the hospital foyer are several photographs of William and James O'Neill. The original plaque was found wedged behind a filing cabinet and unveiled at the entrance to the hospital on the 24th April 2015.

The memory of three Gordonvale men killed during World War I will live on at the Gordonvale Hospital, where a commemorative plaque made in their honour will be unveiled on the eve of Anzac Day. Brothers Sergeant-Major William O’Neill and Lieutenant Gordon O’Neill were among 20 soldiers from the Gordonvale area who enlisted in the Queensland-raised 15th Battalion at the outbreak of the war. Both made the ultimate sacrifice along with one other Gordonvale soldier by the surname Griffin, although not much is known about him.

When the trio didn’t return, the O’Neill brothers’ parents, Edith and James, set about raising £4000 to build a hospital in their honour.  The eight-bed Gordonvale Soldiers War Memorial Hospital was finally built in the 1920s and, in a kind gesture to the then tiny Far Northern town, it was officially opened by Australian governor-general John Baird, also known as Lord Stonehaven. A short time later, a marble plaque unveiled by him and displayed at the front gate of the hospital disappeared.

It was not until the present Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service chairman, Bob Norman, found the stone – wedged behind a filing cabinet – two years ago that the hospital’s true history has been revived.

The Gordonvale community, including long-serving nurses Fae Morgan and Tracey Johnson, will gather next Friday at 9.30am to once again unveil the commemorative plaque. Ms Morgan said it was a privilege to work at a hospital that honoured fallen Anzacs.
The Cairns Post (Qld.), 17 April 2015. 




Address:1 - 11 Highleigh Road, Gordonvale, 4865
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -17.087009
Long: 145.786474
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:04-August-1914
Actual Event End Date:28-June-1919


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 21st July, 1926
Front Inscription

Plaque :


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au