Historical information

Sister Gertrude Lawson graduated 1887, is pictured in the operating theatre circa 1907 but she probably did not play an active role. At this time the surgeons were assisted by a male attendant. In 1899 Matron Laura Pratt wrote, " There were 3 main operating days, the surgeons being Mr Henry O'Hara, Mr Cook and Mr Buchanan. There was one theatre sister whose duties were to prepare the theatre and attend all operations, buy and keep instruments in repair, prepare all types of sutures. She was on duty 24 hours for emergencies with a trained deputy on call from the ward in her absence. This system was altered about 1909 when each nurse at the end of her second year was given a month in the theatre"


A rare photo of the Alfred Hospital operating theatre circa 1907. No antiseptic measures were taken in surgical work apart for instruments being boiled in water and soda. Rubber gloves were not introduced until 1908.

Physical description

This is a rare photo of the operating theatre circa 1907 at the Alfred Hospital.

Inscriptions & markings

The notice on the wall reads: "The floor being reserved for the hospital staff. Visitors are requested to take seats in the gallery."