Braeside Hospital celebrating 25 years of providing exceptional care in Sydney’s South West

Braeside Hospital 25th anniversary birthday celebration, HammondCare CEO Mike Baird presents a speechBraeside Hospital’s first quarter-century of providing palliative care, rehabilitation and older persons’ mental health to the diverse communities of Sydney’s south west has been celebrated with the promise of an even brighter future.

The hospital, operated by HammondCare, has cared for more than 27,000 patients in the Liverpool and Fairfield areas since taking its first admission in November 1996 after an opening by then Premier Bob Carr.

HammondCare Chief Executive Mike Baird marked the anniversary on November 24 at a ceremony where he expressed optimism about the hospital’s future.

A Master Plan is in consultation with the South Western Sydney Local Health District  – expected to be unveiled next year - will drive a refurbishment program of the existing buildings and examine more services.

A $250,000 grant from the NSW Government will fund a new family lounge where relatives of palliative care patients can feel at home with work to begin in the New Year.

Mr Baird said: “At 25 years we have just got started. While we celebrate this incredible legacy, I am excited about what the next 25 years holds.”

He said the hospital’s biggest strength was its connection to its local community, including its active Friends of Braeside group, which he said was a great example of what’s possible for other HammondCare services.

Braeside Hospital Federal Member for Prospect Janice Crosio inspecting progress on construction“I think Braeside shows the power that comes as we connect to the local community and get better outcomes – not just with fundraising but as a broad network of people connected to others at their time of need,” Mr Baird said.

HammondCare General Manager Health and Palliative Care Dr Andrew Montague joined Mr Baird and representatives of South Western Sydney Local Health District to acknowledge the 25 year milestone, held with a reward ceremony for staff.

A big gala fundraiser, The Rose Ball, will be hosted on October 14 next year by the Friends of Braeside at the Grand Paradiso. It had been scheduled for this month but COVID-19 restrictions required the postponement.

Mr Montague related a number of stories about the hospital’s early days, including observing that the official opening of the hospital by Mr Carr on October 14, 1996, was more than a month before the first patients arrived,

“It was much like an episode of Yes Minister where the the best hospital is one without patients,” Mr Montigue said. “It was a ghost hospital.”

The hospital with its swooping architecture was a showpiece for wheelchair accessibility without a single step. However, this  caused challenges for rehabilitation staff who needed steps to build leg strength for patients who lived in walk-up units.  “They ended up building a set of steps in the car park – that’s how desperately they needed the steps,” he said.

Braeside was built at its present Prairiewood site next to Fairfield Hospital -- after 90 years at Petersham -- following a NSW Government invitation to bring more health services to Sydney’s south west.

Braeside Hospital Premier Bob Carr opening 1996 with Hope Healthcare CEO Tim Phillips Chair Peter EvansOther amusing tales were shared by Dixika Palmer who recalls one doctor going missing for hours after locking himself in a toilet. “Patients often complain you can never find a doctor around, well here was one reason,” she said.

Since before it even officially opened, Braeside Hospital was passionately embraced by the community it serves. Locals rallied to meet a fundraising target of more than $1 million to help the new hospital open with the best facilities. There were walkathons, golf days and even a spaghetti eating competition held at Club Marconi.  One Smithfield RSL fundraiser alone generated an impressive $40,000.

One original staff member, HammondCare Director of Medical Services Professort Friedbert Kohler continues to work at the hospital and was acknowledged with a special gift by HammondCare Chief Medical Officer Associate Professor Andrew Cole. Other staff recognised as originals include Bronwen Ellis and Meriam Pascua.

Tickets to The Rose Ball dinner, dance and show planned for October 2022 can be purchased by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 0414 507 912.