Cliftoria as a Hospital


Original part of Goulburn Hospital “Erected A.D. 1887.”

I have just discovered that the centenary of Cliftoria becoming a private hospital was only four years ago. Cliftoria was a hospital for about 2 years (July 1913 to July 1915), which covers the start of WW1. Written in the newspaper articles are some quite interesting details of life at that time. For example, the details of the evening celebrating Nurse Mullholland’s time at Goulburn hospital before starting her private hospital in Cliftoria. Nurse Clara Mulholland ran the Cliftoria Hospital and obviously had a lot of previous experience from being a matron of the Goulburn hospital and her time at two other hospitals. I cannot find any evidence, in the building, from its life as a hospital. The final newspaper article, with the auction details, shows there appears to have been a fully equipped operating room. A warning that there are some gruesome details concerning the young lady who died under anaesthetic.

I don’t know why the hospital was closed or where Nurse Mulholland went afterwards. I wonder if it was related to the impact that WW1 had on everything.


The Burrowa News (NSW : 1874 – 1951) Friday 20 May 1910 p 4 Article

Nurse Clara Mulholland was appointed matron of the Goulburn Hospital. The new matron was at the Sydney Hospital for 16 years, and at Taree for three years. ‘


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Thursday 12 June 1913 p 2 Article



The usual monthly meeting of the Hospital was held on Wednesday evening. The president (Mr. W. A. Martin) occupied the chair. The most important business of tile evening was the resignation of the Matron (Nurse Mulholland), who for three years past has had control of the nursing staff. The resignation was accepted. It is understood Nurse Mulholland intends commencing a private hospital in Goulburn.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Saturday 5 July 1913 p 4 Article


On Friday evening the friends of Miss Mulholland, who recently resigned her position of matron of the Goulburn Hospital, entertained her at a gift evening at Mr. W. R. Costley’s rooms. The attendance was a large one, and the evening was passed happily with cards and music. After supper a few remarks were made. Mr. W. S. Foxall said he had the pleasure of knowing Nurse Mulholland, who had been natron during a progressive period in the history of the hospital. She had decided to commence private work, and while they were sorry to know she was giving up the hospital, they were glad she would still be in their midst. (Applause.) One and all joined in wishing her every good fortune. A Mr. Nicholas paid a high tribute to the work of the matron. He was pleased to have the opportunity of taking part in the function, and joined in wishing Matron Mulholland every success. The Mayor said he hoped the Matron would always reside in Goulburn-long enough to see the electric light, anyhow. (Laughter.) She was a sterling representative of that noble army, the nursing- profession. He wished her prosperity in the new work she was taking up. Dr. Mollison; responded on behalf of the matron. During the evening songs were rendered by Miss N. McShane, Messrs. Fisher, Nicholas, and Dart. Miss Gilllespie was accompanist. Mr W.S. Foxall gave a humorous recitation, “Law” A most enjoyable evening came to a conclusion about 11.

(The Mayor’s joke is about how electric lighting hadn’t been added to Goulburn. It took about 20 years of negotiation before it was built and turned on the night of 28 May 1914, lighting up Auburn street. The delay was apparently due to gas/electric power politics. But that’s another story. Miss Mulholland did get the opportunity to see Goulburn’s electric lights as she didn’t close the hospital until 1915.)


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Tuesday 5 May 1914 p 2 Article


Mr. A. T. L. Broad on Sunday underwent an operation at Nurse Mulholland’s private hospital. It was successfully performed. To-day Mr. Broad was reported to be slightly better and to be doing well.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Tuesday 6 October 1914 p 4 Article



On Sunday afternoon Miss Flora Isabel Laverty, daughter of Mr. Laverty, of Laggan, near Crookwell, died at Nurse Mullholland’s private hospital after being operated upon for a throat trouble. The Coroner, Mr. Harold O’Brien, conducted an inquiry at the Courthouse on Monday morning. Only the mother’s evidence was heard in the morning, and the inquiry was adjourned till the afternoon to permit of the doctors being present. Jane Laverty, mother of the deceased, residing at “Fairview,” Laggan, deposed that her daughter was 19 on the 26th of last August; she was born at “Fairview,” and had no property; her life was not insured, and she was unmarried; witness last saw her alive at about a quarter to three on Sunday at Nurse Mulholland’s private hospital; her daughter had been in hospital before at Grenfell and left on Friday; she was admitted to Nurse Mulholland’s hospital on the day of her death; she complained of a bad throat, which she had been suffering from for about a fortnight; she saw Dr. Gillespie and Dr. Glissan. Dr. Gillespie said that a slight operation would be necessary; witness went to the hospital at about seven o’clock on Sunday evening; Dr. Gillespie was looking for witness to tell her that her daughter was dead, and he saw her later. Dr. Glillespi disposed that he first saw the deceased at his surgery at one o’clock on Sunday; she was with her mother, and complained of a bad throat, which her mother said she had been suffering from for ten days; her mother said her daughter had had no food for ton days, as she was unable to swallow; witness examined her and found that she had a large abscess mass in and behind the right tonsil, almost blocking up the back part of the mouth; witness told her mother that the only thing to be done was to open and drain the abscess, and that such operation could not be done except under an anaesthetic; witness sent the deceased to Nurse Mulholland’s Private hospital, and witness told the mother that the operation could not be performed until three o’clock that afternoon; the deceased’s heart was examined before the operation and found to be quite normal and healthy; the anaesthetic was then administered by Dr.. Glissan, and the patient was not breathing well, so the operation was commenced before she was deeply under it; the girl’s breathing became easier, after the abscess had been-opened, but her colour became bad, also her pulse; artificial respiration was resorted to for an hour, and strychnine was administered and other means to accelerate the action of the heart were applied, but the patient died before coming out of the effects of the anaesthetic; in witness’s opinion the cause of death was septic poisoning by absorption from the abscess abovementioned, together ,with the fact that the patient had been without food for ten. days, and that such death was caused while the patient was under an anaesthetic. Dr. Williams, Government, medical ‘officer, deposed .to having performed a post-mortem examination on the body; most of the organs were found to be ins healthy state, but had undergone an unusual degree of ,post-mortem decomposition; in witness’s opinion the cause of death was ‘the result of the anaesthetic, and was probably brought about in this case by the highly poisoned state, of the patient’s system; the witness said the measures taken .by the medical men in this case were perfectly correct, and all care appeared to have been taken. The Coroner found that the deceased died while under the- influence of an anaesthetic, but that such anaesthetic had been properly administered and every care appeared to have been shown by the medical men concerned.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Saturday 5 December 1914 p 4 Article

Mrs. C. F. Adams is now an inmate of Nurse Mulholland’s private hospital, where she underwent an operation on Thursday.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Tuesday 19 January 1915 p 2 Article


The death is announced of Mr. William Fitzhardinge, son of the late Mr. J. F. Fitzhardinge, of Wagga. The deceased gentleman, who died at “Cliftoria” Private Hospital, Goulburn, on Saturday last, was 46 years of age, and had been practising as a solicitor at Braidwood until attacked by Bright’s disease. His widow survives him.

(Bright’s disease is a disease of the kidneys.)


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Thursday 22 April 1915 p 4 Article


Through a mistake Mr. Harsch, a resident of West Wyalong, while in Goulburn on Tuesday, swallowed some lotion intended for outward application only. Mr. Harsch fortunately discovered the error as soon as made. He hastened to a doctor, but the medical man being out went to Mr. Jamieson’s pharmacy, where prompt and successful measures were taken. Later a doctor was consulted and the patient was treated and admitted to Nurse Mulholland’s private hospital. On Wednesday Mr. Harsch had so far recovered as to be able to leave the hospital.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Saturday 22 May 1915 p 2 Article

The friends of Mrs. C. Percy Holloway will be pleased to learn that she has recovered from the effects of her recent operation, and left Nurse Mulholland’s hospital to-day (Saturday) for her home.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Thursday 1 July 1915 p 3 Advertising and Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940) Saturday 3 July 1915 p 3 Advertising

Furniture Sale

Tuesday, July 6th,

At 2.30 p.m.


received instructions from Nurse Mulholland to sell by auction,

At the Residence, on the corner of Faithfull and Clifford streets, All Her Furniture and Effects,



Dining-room Table and Cloth

5 Dining-room Chairs

Handsome Sideboard, bevelled glass

Sofa, Arm Chairs

Cane Lounge Chairs

Occasional Tables

Pictures, Linoleum

Room Heater, Lamps

Crockery, Glassware, etc.



Single and Double Bedsteads and Bedding

Dressing tables

Washstands and Ware

Bedroom Chairs

Stretchers and Spring Mattresses

Sewing Machine

Ten Pairs Blankets

Sheets and Quilts

Towels, Linoleums, etc.



Operating Table

Lotion Trollies

Anaesthetic Stool

Copper Steriliser

And all Necessary Operating Requisites.

Sale Starts at 2.30 p.m.


One response to “Cliftoria as a Hospital

  1. Really interesting. Having had an abscessed tonsil, I am thoroughly grateful for the advent of antibiotics. They were very frequently fatal before that because they so often resulted in sepsis. These days they don’t attempt to operate until they have the infection under control.

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