Who we are. Our History.
Health care has been provided to the community of Rochester and surrounds since the 1870s.
Initially medical and nursing services were provided out of a number of private homes which served as ‘hospitals’ by private operators and some committed general practitioners in both Rochester and in Elmore.
Elmore District Hospital
The Elmore District Hospital opened in 1939 on donated land and was built with funds arising from public donations and bequests. The Elmore District Hospital served the community for nearly 50 years until 1990, when new government policy deemed the hospital was ‘economically unviable’. Despite active and vocal community lobbying, the hospital ultimately entered into negotiations with nearby Rochester Hospital, with a view to identify where services might be combined.
Rochester & District War Memorial Hospital
Health services in Rochester had similar beginnings as Elmore, with services provided from private homes. From the mid to late 1940s, the community actively campaigned to develop a modern facility, which culminated in the opening of Rochester and District War Memorial Hospital in 1952. The hospital was dedicated to the people of the district who served in the Second World War (1939-1945).
The hospital became well established, and for forty years offered a wide range of services to meet changing community needs, including the introduction of aged care facilities.
Amalgamation of facilities
After much deliberation and many meetings, the Elmore District Hospital Board agreed to amalgamate with the Rochester and District War Memorial Hospital effective from 1 November, 1993 to be known as the Rochester and Elmore District Health Service (REDHS).
In the following years the need for an updated facility to meet the Health Service Accreditation and Building Certification requirements culminated in the Victorian state government agreeing to a $21.7 million redevelopment program. The redevelopment commenced in late 2006 and was completed in 2010.
Honoring the past
Gasps of delight and amazement were heard from the crowd as World War II soldier and nurse statues were unveiled at a special ceremony on 9 November, 2017, the culmination of many months of planning and months of sculpting. The statues signify the contribution and sacrifice made by Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who fought for our country, and in honour of whom the Rochester War Memorial Hospital was built.