The deaths are commemorated by a striking monument in Cheltenham Cemetery.
The Doctor's House
At the same time as the new hospital was erected, the house occupied by Dr Duncan's successor, Dr Robert Gething, was demolished and rebuilt as a 12-roomed mansion - although Dr Gething's sudden death meant that it was his brother-in-law and the hospital's third Medical Officer, Dr John Toll, who moved into the grand home.
Dr Toll departed to serve in the South African War in 1899, dying of infection while on the way home, and Dr William Gething became Medical Officer of the Casualty Hospital in his absence. He used the building as both a home and a clinic even after Federation transferred the duties of quarantine and public health services to the new Commonwealth Government. It came as a drastic shock to Port Adelaide when, in 1915, it was announced that the ailing Dr Gething and his public clinic would be evicted from the "Doctor's House" to allow its conversion into a branch of the Commonwealth Bank. Protest was ineffective and Dr Gething died soon afterwards. The house was drastically refurbished (destroying a wonderful wooden staircase in the process) but can still be seen behind the false front that was added by the bank in the 1930s.
A General Hospital for Port Adelaide
The new casualty hospital was kept in regular use. During its first year (1884) it had 88 "indoor patients" (ie those who required admission for at least one night) and about 50 who could sit on the benches outside while waiting for the doctor and then be discharged after treatment. Of those 138 patients the doctors treated 16 fractured legs, seven broken arms and 15 cases of concussion. Fifteen amputations were performed (despite the lack of any dedicated surgical theatre) and six deaths were reported.
This seems to have been the general pattern of life at the Port Adelaide Casualty Hospital over the next few decades. There was, of course, a steady increase in cases although there was little improvement in the clinical facility or the staff to deal with this. A nurse's room and a bathroom were added in 1909, enclosed within a verandah extension to the back of the building.
The figures for 1915 show that there had been little change in the number of in-patients over the years (74 males having been admitted of whom 8 had died) but the hospital had treated 1154 males and 75 females as out-patients. With the Great War entering its second year and the effects of the drought of 1913 still apparent, it is not surprising that Port Adelaide Council's push for an improved hospital fell upon very deaf governmental ears.
However, once the war was over, there was a steadily increasing wave of public and political pressure for a proper local general hospital to serve the region. In 1920 the Council even decided on its location, offering the government part of a block of land near the junction of Commercial and Grand Junction Roads (later the site of Port Adelaide Girls' High School). Over 61 the next thirty years there was to be an increasing and well-coordinated public clamour for a general hospital for Port Adelaide. This did not lose momentum even when Sir Thomas Playford's government declared in 1944 that the hospital would be built at Woodville.
It soon became apparent that the government had no intention of changing its mind about the site at Woodville but a new concern then arose when it was learnt that Wolverton Private Hospital (the only private maternity hospital in the area) was to close. This eventually resulted in the conversion of Wolverton into the Lefevre Community Hospital - the first such service in the metropolitan area - but the concern about the limited maternity services in the region meant that the first section of the new " Western District Hospital" to open in 1954 was the maternity unit..