Sydney Hospital Bicentennial Reception

(6pm 27 October 2011, Sydney Town Hall, Lord Mayor's Reception Room)

I would like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present and also former NSW Premierm, Morris Iemma, and Janet McDonald AO.

I am delighted to host this Bicentennial reception for Sydney Hospital, and to pay tribute to both the important role it has played in our city over the last 200 years, and to its significant place in our community today.

Two centuries ago, Governor in Chief Lachlan Macquarie recognised a need for a place to shelter and care for the sick. The Hospital that was built not only stands strong today, its construction helped shape the Eastern side of our city, and was a catalyst for so much of the infrastructure we still see.

In order to build the Hospital, Macquarie Street was constructed. It was the first straight road in Australia and literally paved the way for building supplies to be transported from the harbour-front directly to the Hospital construction site. It also sparked the beginning of a government, community and medical hub - a hub which still thrives in the Macquarie Street of today.

There is no doubt that the construction of the Hospital was forward thinking - its beautiful sandstone and the extraordinary iron work are outstanding examples of the craftsmanship of the time and have left us with a building that is striking and unique in our City landscape.
Sydney Hospital is also known for its history of ground breaking medical advances - and these advances have helped to put Sydney on the international stage.

The Hospital was the first in Australia to use an X-ray, the first to administer a general anaesthetic, the first to use radiotherapy treatment and the first to carry out a blood transfusion - and very importantly, the first to develop a program for medical teaching.

In more recent times the Hospital has become an international centre of excellence for hand and eye surgery, sexual health and addiction treatment.
The visionary work that doctors, nurses, allied health and research professionals carry out every day puts Sydney Hospital at the forefront of some of the most advanced health care in the world.

I want to make special mention of the extraordinary staff, many of whom are in the room tonight. You are exceptional - all of you. You are selfless, kind and giving. Your work, and the work of your colleagues over the last 200 years, has made Sydney Hospital a visionary centre for healthcare, with an international reputation of which we should all be proud.

I thank you on behalf of our city and the community of Sydney.