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Our History


The history of volunteers at Lyell McEwin began in the City of Elizabeth (now the City of Playford), South Australia, in 1959 – even before the original hospital was opened – with the formation of the Ladies Auxiliary.

The contribution of the Auxiliary was significant and over the years they made a huge contribution to the Lyell McEwin both financially and socially.

As the years rolled on, other volunteer groups came on board and started to give their time to the hospital community. This included volunteer visitors from local churches, and the Australian Red Cross Society also placed a number of volunteers into the hospital to help in a variety of ways.

In 1987, the administration of the day decided that it was time to pull all of this volunteer effort together under one umbrella group, so a working party was formed to investigate the best structure for the implementation of a volunteer department.

This working party decided that it was desirable that an Incorporated Association of volunteers be developed, based on the model in use by the nearby Flinders Medical Centre. The Association was formally registered as an Association in July of 1988 and the current organisation was born!

At the same time, the hospital allocated a number of fundraising opportunities to the fledgling organisation, in a bid to help the group become self-sufficient. The operation of the hospital’s kiosk (now cafe), gift shop, vending services and TV Hire operations all aided in making the Association the vibrant organisation it is today.

Since that time the Association has grown to be more than 500 strong, with volunteers working in more than 30 key areas. The highly dedicated team at the Lyell McEwin today contribute anything up to 100,000 hours of volunteer time annually.

Copies of the Volunteer Association’s history book ‘The Spirit of the North’ (edition 2) is available from the Volunteer Association.