Macksville Hospital benefactors: A tale of two Harrys

RESCUED: Harry Bragg (pictured here in 1925) purchased and renovated a residence adjoining the hospital in 1953 to replace the 'inadequate' nurses quarters.

RESCUED: Harry Bragg (pictured here in 1925) purchased and renovated a residence adjoining the hospital in 1953 to replace the 'inadequate' nurses quarters.

John Hendrick (Harry) Wall (1857-1925) was a native of Finland and a sailor. He spent the latter part of his life in Macksville. Little is known of his early life, but in Macksville he lived as a bachelor in one of four cottages he owned in McKay Street.

When Harry sadly took his own life in Sydney in 1925 at the age of 68, it was discovered that he had bequeathed his estate of property and cash for the purpose of building a hospital at Macksville.

The will required the funds to be used within five years or they would be defaulted in favour of the Children's Hospital at Camperdown. A rushed public meeting secured the funds just short of the expiry date in 1930. The bequest was valued at £1800.

Harry Wall is buried at the Macksville Cemetery where a plaque notes, "The Macksville and District Hospital opened on December 6, 1958 thanks in part to Mr Wall's generosity."

Hospital benefactors: Harry Wall's cemetery plaque. Following his death in 1925, Mr Wall bequeathed his property and cash to building a hospital at Macksville.

Hospital benefactors: Harry Wall's cemetery plaque. Following his death in 1925, Mr Wall bequeathed his property and cash to building a hospital at Macksville.

Our second benefactor is locally born Harry Bragg (1897-1956). He was younger than Mr Wall by 40 years, but as residents of Macksville, it is likely that they knew each other.

Harry Bragg came to the rescue, when in 1953, The Nambucca District Memorial Hospital, as it was then known, had a major problem.

It lacked "proper quarters" for nursing staff and at the time was without a qualified matron. The hoped-for replacement viewed the temporary nurse's quarters and promptly rejected the appointment.

Harry Bragg purchased a residence adjoining the hospital and commencing renovations to accommodate a matron's flat and separate quarters for three nursing sisters.

He is also known for donating the land on which the Macksville Ambulance station was erected and other assistance to local charities.

Information sourced from historical media articles and Macksville District Hospital records.

Rachel Burns

Rachel Burns

About the author:A local history enthusiast living in the Nambucca Valley, Rachel Burns volunteers at Nambucca Headland Museum and the Mary Boulton Pioneer Cottage and Museum in Macksville. She also hosts a current affairs program and music program on 2NVR, with special interest in interviewing. As a guest writer for the Nambucca Guardian News and Mid Coast Observer, Rachel volunteers her time and research talents to bring the community interesting stories from the past.

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