‘World class’ medical facility planned

By Robert Muir

An icon for decades, the old Corowa Nurses Home is to be demolished and transformed into a ‘world class’ multi-million dollar, comprehensive medical and allied health facility for Corowa.

Built around 1950, the big, disused Murrumbidgee Health District brick building beside the Corowa Medical Centre was auctioned last November, fetching $238,000.

It has been acquired by Corowa Medical Centre which has a long-standing association with Corowa and is one of the oldest medical centres in Australia.

“Continuing the tradition of providing high quality comprehensive care, the Corowa Medical Centre has acquired the site to be able to provide residents of Corowa and surrounds, with a world class facility,” principal and senior doctor of Corowa Medical Centre, Dr Ayon Guha, told the Free Press.

“The site could include radiology, multiple allied health services like physiotherapy, exercise physiology, dietician, and nutritionist, psychologist, counselling services and visiting medical and surgical specialists.

“This will place Corowa in an enviable position of delivering comprehensive medical and allied health care in a rural regional setting. It is hoped that it will help Corowa grow and will attract people to move to Corowa as a lifestyle destination that is second to none.” 

The old nurses home has not been used for at least the last 20 years. On the ground floor was a matron’s office, kitchen, kitchenette, dining room and a sewing room. The second floor was accommodation, housing up to 18 nurses. The top floor was unused.

Within the big dining room area, dances were held occasionally, along with fundraisers over a number of years.

Some long-time Corowa residents say the Corowa Nurses Home was, in fact, intended for Cowra, not Corowa and that it was a genuine mistake regarding the location. Murrumbidgee Health District owned the building.

Every brick of the large, three-level brick building was manufactured in Corowa out of the Federation Avenue brickworks, which were located next to the old Pioneer Cemetery.

Practice Manager at Corowa Medical Centre, Kristen Mann, said asbestos from the old building was removed prior to last November’s auction. 

“We are hoping to have the building demolished within two months and aiming to have a brand new facility with two years,” she told The Free Press last week.

“Before final plans are drawn up, feedback from the community is invited for consideration which could incorporate more ideas and facilities that would help Corowa in the long term.

“It will be a multi-million dollar development depending on community input and the plans developed.”

Corowa Medical Centre’s vision also includes providing independent living units for the aged population who still wish to live independently and are not yet ready to commit to a nursing home.

“The living units will be supported by medical nursing and allied health care on site making it possibly one of very few with such comprehensive facility in Australia,” Dr Guha said.

“We are keen to obtain community feedback as soon as possible so we can consider that feedback, have our plans drawn up and set about obtaining all the approvals.”