Warburton Adventists
Since 1906

Warburton Health Care Centre and Hospital Articles

Hospital Closure and Staff Layoffs Mark End of an Era

March 13, 2001-Adventist News Network

The sale of the 90-year-old Warburton Hospital and Health Resort in Victoria, Australia, has seen all staff laid off. The Seventh-day Adventist owned and operated institution was well known for its holistic health programs that attracted guests from around Australia, and for its hospital and emergency-care facilities that served the surrounding communities.

Originally, the staff-some 120 who work the equivalent of 70 full-time positions-expected to continue employment under the new owners. The new owners, however, have announced plans to close the institution for redevelopment over the next 12 months. Approximately one-third of the staff are Adventist church members.

Chester Stanley, president of the Australian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, says that for many people, work at the hospital had been their "life and their ministry. No amount can repay the commitment and the energy that's been poured into this place. I feel for the staff. What has happened to them is incredibly sad."

The hospital was placed on the market for sale in 1998. Contracts were signed in September last year, with church administrators citing financial difficulties as the reason for the sale.

"We had a large loan [from building the hospital, opened in 1994] that was difficult to pay because the hospital was rarely fully occupied, particularly in the past few years," said David Currie, then president of the Adventist Church in the region. "We also had no money, nor could we raise loans to refurbish the resort. It needed refurbishment to continue to attract the kind of clientele that would in turn be attracted to the hospital." Estimates suggest that, in recent times, the hospital and resort have been costing the church in excess of $A50,000 a month.

"The pain is maximised," says Stanley, "because you have a Seventh-day Adventist community built on Seventh-day Adventist institutions-there aren't too many other job opportunities."

Some 3000 people live in Warburton and the surrounding area. The church's primary school will suffer, with parents of 26 students being made redundant. Yarra View Retirement Village and Signs Publishing Company are the remaining church institutions in the town. The church-owned Warburton Sanitarium Health Food Company factory closed in 1997. "This is an environment ill-equipped to absorb these kinds of job losses," says Colin Clark, human resources director for the Adventist Church in Australia.

The final guests will leave Warburton Health Care Centre and Hospital on March 14, 2001.-Bruce Manners


Warburton Sanitarium Report 

Australasian Record, 21/10/1918

Our institution on the hill near the Signs Publishing Company has enjoyed a very fair patronage throughout, although the heavy rains and cold winds through the winter retard progress to a great extent. Brotoher and Sister Wise, graduates from the Sydney Sanitarium, are in charge, and the balance sheet reveals a small gain this year. We have very much appreciated the liberality of our Victorian brethren in 'giving the sum of £141 toward the indebtedness of this institution. The buildings are well cared for and during the last financial year have been painted outside and renovated within.

Warburton Health Care Centre and Hospital

A Visit to the Warburton Sanitarium Australasian Record, 6/5/1918

THE following clipping from the Cootamundra Liberal was written by the editor of that paper during his stay at the Warburton sanitarium : I think that if I tell our readers a little about the sanitarium at Warburton it may interest them. From a crowded city into a peaceful "home of health" such as this is, is about one of the sharpest changes one could possibly achieve. Geographically this is another "happy valley " of the Forth. Great impending hills look down into the winding River Yarra. Here they have built the sanitarium. Bright, clean, wholesome, are the three words which describe the place -away from the "maddening crowd." You pay two guineas a week, and you live as Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden; almost as simply, almost as innocently. Here it does not matter what price beef and mutton are; pickles, pepper, and sauces; pork or poultry.; beer, tobacco, or whisky, Here all days are "meatless days." What then do they live on? Oh, plenty and plenty. The tables are laden with fruits and nuts, cream and biscuits and breads, such as you never tasted before; and there are eggs, the only kind of " meat" I found here. Of course it is a religious house, the home of religious people. Here I meet, as I knew I should meet, a people steeped in deep convictions; a people set apart; a people who get upon the hilltops; who are watching and waiting-for what? For the second coming of Him who is veritably their Lord and Master. Of all the multitude of de- nominations which make up the nominal Christian world in this most troubled and anxious twentieth century, these stand out alone as the people who are looking for the Second Advent, and read in the situs of the times unmistakable evidences that we are very near the end of the world as at present constituted. One of the surprises of this lovely mountain country is the unlimited water supply. Every little creek or chasm on the hillside runs with crystal water, issuing mid fern and flower. The trees grow tail and very straight, one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet high .... At night time it is a pretty sight to look down the valley : a strange winding string of lights, for the most part electric lights, that rather suggest the "great dragon " seen in our north-eastern sky by those who have the least rudimentary knowledge of astronomy. The power is issued by the Signs Company-which company is indicated the lion of the place. Occasionally I have quoted the Signs of the Times. Here in this Garden of Eden they publish much literature: a ton and a half a week, I'm told; and their motor power is drawn from the water issuing out of the hillside. They light not only the big sanitarium and their own printing premises and lecture hall, but the main street of Warburton. Fitting enough for people whose aim is to light and blaze another track to the Shore Eternal. In the midst of the world-wide frenzy of unrest and strife, strikes, anarchy, and confusion, here is a sweet peace. It draws all sorts and conditions : every "ism" and creed, Protestant and Roman Catholic, Methodist, and even Christian Israelites, so they tell me at the peaceful sanitarium of Warburton.