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.

The project looks at the Servicemen, Doctors, Nurses, Staff at the Kyoomba Sanatorium, and those who had close connections to this Military institution and uncovers a part of local history which has previously been unexplored or forgotten.

During the First World War the Department of Defense set up numerous military hospitals around Australia to accommodate returning 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 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. Often the symptoms of this disease were not detected for some years after the war.

Kyoomba, is 3 kilometers outside of Stanthorpe in the Southern Downs Region of South East Queensland. The hospital was known variously as the Kyoomba Sanatorium, Kyoomba Military Hospital, Repatriation Hospital or the Stanthorpe Military Hospital.

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 Project has been partly funded by grants received from the Queensland Anzac Centenary Community Grants Program, Regional Arts Development Fund, Stanthorpe RSL Services Club, RSL Western Districts, the Community Benefit Funds Unit and The Southern Downs Regional Council.

 

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