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Holy Trinity is a wonderful repository of stories - about the church itself through the decades, and of the people who have been worshippers, plus countless others who either had family christenings, marriages or funeral services there.

When the Holy Trinity Support Group was out on the streets with its petition seeking the retention and repair of the church, a major response among the thousands who signed was of great grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends, who were married there. It was indeed a particularly popular setting for weddings, and that's not in the least surprising considering the beautiful setting.

Here are stories about people's links with the church. If you would like to share your memories about this holy place, please Contact Us.

    Helpers in health

The role of Holy Trinity Church went far beyond meeting just the spiritual needs of its own parishioners. There was, for example, a very significant presence in the health care of Hobart's population by running a hospital.

What is the present day St John's Hospital in South Hobart was under the administration of the Anglican Church for 53 years, and Holy Trinity's representatives were to the fore in that work.

In their 1833-1933 centenary book, The Story of Trinity, Frank Bowden and Max Crawford recorded that for some time there had been a desire to establish an Anglican Church hospital in Hobart and in 1930 the Synod appointed a committee to achieve this. It was under the chairmanship of Holy Trinity's Rector Donald Burns Blackwood, who apart from being the resident minister of the church from 1924 was also Canon of St David's Cathedral from 1925 and Archdeacon of Hobart from 1929.

Discussions with the management of what was then the Hobart Homeopathic Hospital resulted in taking it over with the Rector heading the management board. Renamed St John's Hospital, it opened as such in March, 1931.

Donald Blackwood's experiences as a chaplain in World War One were obviously of great value for the hospital's administration. In his early overseas duties as a padre with the AIF he was in Egypt at the Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis, Cairo. Clearly this had a profound impact on him. He wrote of a responsibility to between 500 to 1,000 patients - "to visit the worst cases and get round the rest of them took from 6am to 10pm."

Such was his dedication, for this was he padre who eventually wrote 2,000 letters to next of kin of the Australian soldiers who died in the war.

Padre Blackwood was himself to experience the hospital bed. While serving in France after Egypt he suffered gas poisoning and was evacuated to hospital in England in December, 1916. But in three months he was back to the battlefields, and soon to receive Mention in Dispatches for his efforts. The experience of bringing comfort to men on the frontline would also prove invaluable for his subsequent hospital administrator's role.

The Homeopathic Hospital began in 1899 in Wellington Grange, formerly the home of the Fisher family.

When the church took it over it had 20 beds, but a new wing was completed in 1935 and with a further eight single rooms added in 1939 the capacity was increased to 64 beds. Nurse training started in 1942 as a war-time measure and for the next 40 years St John's acted as a nurse training hospital. By 1959 there were 82 beds and continued refurbishment was taking place.

Completion of the Wellington Wing in 1978 ushered in a new era. Eventually, in 1984, there was a change of ownership from the church when the Medical Benefits Fund bought the hospital. In turn, ownership later switched to Calvary Health Care, today's operator of the St John's campus.

The Blackwood service to St John's Hospital wasn't confined to the Rector's leadership role. A Holy Trinity branch of the St John's Hospital Association had been formed in 1931 and later that year one of its members, Mrs Bertram Blackwood, became the first woman elected to the hospital's board of management. Bertram was the immediate older brother of Donald Blackwood and was a Holy Trinity churchwarden in the 1930s, with his wife Parish Council secretary.

On the church role in the hospital, Bowden and Crawford had this to say in their book: "Doubts were expressed as to the advisability of taking over the hospital, but the results so far show that the committee's expectations have been more than realised."

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