The Kyoomba RSL Project is an initiative of the Stanthorpe Sub Branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia (Queensland Branch) and coincides with the ANZAC Centenary.
During the First World War many military personnel serving overseas were wounded or suffered from disease and were repatriated back to Australia for medical treatment and convalescence.
The Department of Defense set up numerous military hospitals around Australia to accommodate the injured servicemen and women.
A good many of the military hospitals that were established were for specific purposes. Kyoomba was established for those service personnel who suffered from Tuberculosis (TB) and those who developed lung damage due to the effects of the German gas they encountered whilst serving in the trenches on the front line of combat.
Tuberculosis is a widespread, and in many cases fatal, infectious disease. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air.
Kyoomba, a small township some 3 kilometers outside of Stanthorpe is on the Granite Belt in the Southern Downs Region of South East Queensland. The hospital was known variously as the Kyoomba Sanatorium, Kyoomba Military Hospital or the Stanthorpe Military Hospital. The Granite Belt was known to be an ideal place to recuperate for these patients due to its high altitude and clean dry air.
The aim of the Kyoomba Research Project is to locate and collate as much information as possible about the servicemen and military hospital staff who were stationed at Kyoomba. If we can achieve this, then we can go on to tell the story of this military hospital and its connection with Stanthorpe’s local history.
Opposite is a link to The Record Keeper, an “Online Exhibit” created by Max Norr from the United States of America based on the diaries of Sister “Birdie” Genevieve Lantz. Max Norr reached out to me in February 2017 and we were able to piece together the story of Private William Alexander Smith. Smith who was from Wagga Wagga, hospitalised in the 22nd General Hospital in Camiers, France and repatriated back home became a patient at the Kyoomba Sanatorium.
The Stanthorpe RSL Sub Branch would like to acknowledge that the Kyoomba Research Project has been partly funded by a grant received from the Regional Arts Development Fund and the Southern Downs Regional Council.
The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a Queensland Government and Southern Downs Regional Council partnership to support local arts and culture.
The Kyoomba RSL Project would like to thank the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland and Trove, National Library of Australia for the use of newspaper articles and photographs for the website and broadsheets.