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Rottnest Island - The hidden ‘Native hospital’

Rottnest Island - The hidden ‘Native hospital’

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Published by Dr Paul Weaver
A significant 19th century building, the Rottnest 'Native hospital' is neglected and hidden by junk.
A significant 19th century building, the Rottnest 'Native hospital' is neglected and hidden by junk.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Dr Paul Weaver on Jun 05, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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5/06/09 7:45 AMFremantlebiz - Paul's Letter from AustraliaPage 1 of 2http://fremantlebiz.livejournal.com/2009/06/05/
Fremantlebiz - Paul's Letter from Australia
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Friday, June 5th, 2009
Rottnest Island - The hidden ‘Native hospital’ 
 persona non grata.
The hidden ‘Native hospital - April 2009’
I’m supposing that many of the prisoners who were interred in the nearby Aboriginal cemetery may have had a brief encounter with the old building. Perhaps it’s been kept hidden because of a fear of exacerbating the vigorous protests overthe past two decades for greater historical recognition of the experiences of Aboriginal prisoners?The cemetery area was for many years used as a public camping ground. The Rottnest Island management board had longbeen aware of the graves but adopted a non-publicity stance. However after the area was registered as significant by theWA Museum in 1985 it came into the focus of the Aboriginal Rights movement. I was there in those stimulating times withmy cameras, but I’ve yet to digitise my many negatives.Neville Green (1997) in the book
Far from home…
records that at least 371 male prisoners were buried in the cemeterybetween 1839 and 1906. The majority of deaths were a result of diseases such as measles, whooping cough and influenza.For example, over a period of about 100 days in the winter of 1883 fifty-three prisoners died from flu. There were also atleast six accidental drownings and five executions by hanging, the latter took place between 1879 and 1888.It’s apparent the old ‘Native Hospital’ is suffering from neglect. Hopefully it doesn’t accidentally get destroyed. It's animportant historical building worthy of more respectful treatment.
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