Greenslopes Hospital Shelters History with World War II Bunker Museum

Beneath its modern façade and world-class facilities, Greenslopes Private Hospital holds a significant part of the country’s history. With the opening of the Bunker Museum, visitors can learn and appreciate the role of the hospital during the Second World War.

Not many people know about the rich history of Greenslopes Private Hospital and what role it played in the biggest global war in history. The hospital was designed just weeks after WWII was declared. It was inaugurated on February 1, 1942, and included three bunkers.

Only one of the air raid shelters has survived the war. Years after, the bunker was used to store wheelchairs and archives.

Thanks to the efforts of resident historian and endocrinologist Dr Chris Strakosch, the shelter has been transformed into a museum to showcase the important role that the hospital played during the historic war.

Greenslopes Military Hospital

During the Second World War, the Greenslopes hospital was the nearest military hospital to the frontline. When it was designed, Australian troops were fighting in Italy and Germany. It was opened to accommodate returning soldiers.

Beds on the verandah of the Greenslopes hospital.

Its opening in 1942 was just around the time that the Japanese had joined the war. At that time, the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbour and started raids on Darwin.

It was first named as 112th Australian General Hospital and was later called Repatriation General Hospital before it took its current name.

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The hospital’s first patients came from battlefields in Europe, North Africa, Middle East and the Pacific. For many patients, the hospital was a refuge and symbol of hope for the future.

A Shelter for History

Once an air raid shelter, now the Greenslopes hospital bunker serves to shelter a piece of history that the people of Australia should not forget.

Three bunkers were constructed after the hospital was completed. The surviving bunker was built between the walls, which explains its odd shape. As visitors enter the museum, they will see a blast wall in front of the original door, which would give them a sense of its original purpose.

Dr Strakosch wrote the history of the hospital in 2002 in time for hospital’s 60th anniversary. He was inspired by the stories he found, so he suggested using the surviving bunker as a museum.

The Bunker Museum houses photographs and newspaper clippings since the pre-opening of the hospital. There is also an audio-visual display describing the hospital’s 60-year history.

The museum is open to visitors from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Interested parties may contact the hospital’s volunteer services at 3394 6753.