The Former Red Cross Rest House (Building 15), and the immediate surrounds of the building including the lawn area and trees to the front of the Former Red Cross Rest House.
During World War I (1914-18) over 60,000 members of the First AIF (Australian Imperial Force) were killed and a further 170,000 were treated for physical or mental wounds. In mid-1915 the first wounded soldiers returned to Australia from Gallipoli and the government subsequently established a network of repatriation hospitals and convalescent facilities. Prior to the formal establishment of the Commonwealth Department of Repatriation in 1917, the Department of Defence was responsible for the establishment of large-scale medical and rehabilitation facilities. In Victoria there were three Australian General Hospitals (AGHs): AGH 5 (St Kilda Road), AGH 16 (Mont Park), and AGH 11 (Caulfield). AGH 11 was the largest of the three Victorian hospitals and the third largest AGH in Australia. Initially located in the Glen Eira Mansion (now demolished), it officially opened on 17 April 1916 and additional buildings were constructed within the grounds during the war to meet growing demand. The Australian Red Cross, established in August 1914 as a branch of the British Red Cross Society, also played a vital role in the repatriation of returned soldiers through its mobilisation of thousands of homefront women and the establishment of convalescent facilities. A Red Cross 'Rest Home' opened at the Caulfield Hospital in August 1916. It provided a cheery home like environment for patients, particularly those who had travelled from across the state, to recuperate in the care of Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment workers.
By 1919, the number of repatriation patients treated at the Caulfield Hospital was over 1,000 each day. The Caulfield Hospital remained Victoria's main 'Repat' hospital for many decades providing medical and rehabilitation services to veterans from across the state. A newly constructed nurses' wing, known as Caulfield House, opened in 1936 and it was expanded in 1937. In 1965 the original Glen Eira mansion was demolished and the Victorian Government acquired the last of the Caulfield Hospital assets from the Repatriation Department. The Southern Memorial Hospital (which was used primarily for civilian patients) opened on the site in 1968. In 1979 the Red Cross Rest House was remodelled and transferred to the Victorian State Government. It was renovated in 2001 and reopened as the Montgomery Nursing Home. Today, the Caulfield Hospital has a statewide role in the provision of rehabilitation services and continues to maintain a strong link with the veteran community.
The subject site is part of the traditional land of the Bun Wurrung people.
The current Caulfield Hospital extends across several acres, and is located on Crown Land that is leased to health care providers. The historically significant part of the Caulfield Hospital comprises the Former Red Cross Rest House and its surrounds in the southern part of the site.
The building of significance is:
- Former Red Cross Rest House (Building 15): a single storey rendered brick bungalow-style building designed by former Public Works Department Architect A J MacDonald. Constructed in 1916 the building features wide verandahs, sash windows and a projecting gable to the west that extends beyond the verandah and once formed the main entry. Despite changes made in 1979 and 2001 the building retains much of its original form and many of its original materials.
How is it significant?
The Former Red Cross Rest House is of historical significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria's cultural history
Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria's cultural history
Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria's history
Why is it significant?
The Former Red Cross Rest House is historically significant as an intact remnant of Victoria's primary World War I (1914-18) Repatriation Hospitals. Officially opened as the Australian General Hospital No.11 (AGH No.11) in April 1916, the Former Caulfield Repatriation Hospital was initially located in the Glen Eira Mansion (now demolished) and additional buildings were constructed within the grounds during the war to meet growing demand. Between 1917 and 1919, the hospital accommodated an estimated 19,800 admissions, and between 1916 and 1919 the complex of buildings at the Caulfield Hospital provided rest and recreation for approximately 30,000 men. The Former Red Cross Rest House, a surviving element of the Former Caulfield Repatriation Hospital, demonstrates the profound and ongoing impact of World War I on returned service people, their families and the wider Victorian community, and the involvement of that community in the establishment of repatriation facilities for returned service people during and after World War 1.. (Criterion A)
The Former Red Cross Rest House is uncommon as a purpose-built World War I Red Cross Rest House in Victoria and remains as tangible evidence of the Red Cross's comprehensive program of establishing Rest Homes and Rest Rooms to provide repatriation and convalescent services to support soldiers during and after World War I (Criterion B).
The Former Red Cross Rest House is historically significant for its association with the Australian Red Cross. The Red Cross is one of Australia's largest and oldest non-government voluntary organisations. Established in August 1914, the Red Cross attracted hundreds of thousands of patriotic volunteers, predominantly women, who mobilised to support service personnel overseas and returning to the homefront during and after World War I. Shortly after the opening of Caulfield Hospital, the Red Cross established the Red Cross Rest House, which provided a cheery home-like environment for patients, particularly those who had travelled from across the state, to convalesce in the care of Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment workers. Having establishing the Former Red Cross Rest House in 1916 to provide repatriation services and care to returned service people during and after World War 1, the Red Cross was directly associated with the Former Red Cross Rest House for approximately 60 years. (Criterion H)