When the family of the late Hon Thomas Waddell donated their 25-room family home in Ashfield to us in 1946, they could not have known just how far reaching and extraordinary this gift would be.
The Waddell family were keen to provide a place that could care for women with epilepsy. Their concern was driven by personal experience: one of the Waddell sisters, Ethel, had epilepsy. The family wanted a place where she could be cared for comfortably for the rest of her life, but also where other women could be cared for suitably.
In 1953 the State and Commonwealth governments provided funds to extend the building and scope of the service provision. Although we had been caring for patients on the premises since 1946, in 1954 Waddell House was officially registered as a hospital.
From here, the hospital continued to provide medical treatment and complete research through a group of prominent and Christian psychiatrists. The work extended to include a wide range of medical cases and men were also taken as patients.
Waddell House was the forerunner to what is now Wesley Hospital Ashfield and Kogarah. Today, the work of these hospitals in caring for and treating people with a variety of mental health issues is remarkable. The hospitals offer specialised treatment from a highly gifted team of experts.
Along with many other specialised facilities and dedicated researchers, these hospitals are changing the way that people with mental illnesses live. For us, the seed was planted with one family’s great gift of a home.