LOOKING BACK: Campbell Coraki Hospital in 1910 and, below right, John Campbell's final resting place in Coraki cemetery.
LOOKING BACK: Campbell Coraki Hospital in 1910 and, below right, John Campbell's final resting place in Coraki cemetery. Sam's work place

Farmer left a fortune for Coraki's hospital

THE large pillar topped with six columns finished with a cupola is not your average headstone.

But, then, John Campbell, resident under the headstone, was no average Coraki resident and the monument left to honour him reflects that.

He had come to Coraki in the early days of its settlement, selected a farm at Codrington and through hard work amassed quite a fortune.

 

John Campbell's final resting place in Coraki cemetery.
John Campbell's final resting place in Coraki cemetery. Samantha Elley

John had never married, however, and as he got older, he became aware of the need for some type of hospital in the riverside village.

With this in mind John left in his will most of his savings to the building of a hospital.

He died on January 5, 1903, in the middle of a heatwave where temperatures reached nearly 44°.

He was one of 15 farmers who died that day after doing a normal day's work.

John had left between 6000 and 7000 pounds - a relative fortune in those days.

A committee was formed and the hospital site was described as being on "the south-eastern end of the showground ridge, and a better spot could not possibly have been selected."

It was opened in 1904 and became the heartbeat of a burgeoning town. Babies were born, people were cured and many spent their last days in the Campbell Coraki Hospital as it was officially known.

In 1951 it was saved from a grass fire where patients were evacuated, including one woman undergoing a major operation at the time.

Unfortunately, 107 years after it opened in 2011, Campbell Coraki Hospital closed its doors for good after a storm ripped through the town, damaging some of the roof.

References: The Campbell Hospital, Coraki - Honouring the founder, The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, October 18, 1921; Coraki, The Richmond River Express and Tweed Advertiser, June 9, 1903: Local and general news, The Richmond River Herald and Northern District Advertiser, April 24, 1903; The Heat Wave - Fifteen deaths reported, The Brisbane Courier, January 6, 1903; The day townsfolk saved Coraki Hospital from a grass fire, December 16, 2013; www.northernstar. com.au/news/the-day- townsfolk-saved-coraki-hospital/ 2115259/.



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