Ettrick Bank Hospital.
This old building was at one time located in an area of Timaru known as Ettrick Bank, on the eastern side of High Street leading down to the beach
I am not entirely sure, but history appears to indicate this stately old building was possibly built here by John Ballantyne in 1870’s. Born in 1825 at Selkirk in Scotland, John was the youngest son of an old border family. In 1852 he immigrated to Australia, where he obtained a position as a commercial traveller for McArthur and Company and then later, he became a partner in the same firm. After his first visit to New Zealand in 1858, he is said to have decided to return here someday to live. Yet it was not until 1872, that he and his family did eventually settle in New Zealand.
John Ballantyne became a familiar figure around South Canterbury, having founded the well-known drapery business of Ballantyne and Company in Timaru.
As far as I can gather he lived here at 14 High Street with his family until his death on 6th August 1899. It was only after this; number 14 High Street was to sustain major alterations to its interior.
Two nurses, Miss Annie Christian and Miss Morrison bought Ettrick Bank from the Ballantyne family in late 1899, with the intention of turning it into a private hospital.
It was while working at the Timaru Public Hospital, the pair discussed combining their recourses and establishing a private hospital in the old Ballantyne home.
Annie Christian born in Christchurch spent her high school days in Dunedin. Shortly after leaving the school she travelled to Australia entering the Prince Albert Hospital in Camperdown, Sydney; where she studied as a probationer before going on to gain a diploma in nursing.
Returning to New Zealand in 1898, Annie took up a position as the head nurse at the Greymouth Hospital, transferring to the Timaru Public Hospital, a short time later.
History records in 1901; the Ettrick Bank Private Hospital was classed as being the most picturesque of all private hospitals, in the whole of the Canterbury Provincial District.
Bush covered most of the property, concealing the hospital from public view and a gravel path winding its way through the native flora led from High Street to the front entrance.
Described as a two story brick and plaster building, it was surrounded on three sides by a veranda. The ground floor contained a well-appointed dining room for patients; as well there were two general wards, along with a servant’s quarters. The second floor had a number of well-appointed bedrooms for patients, as well as an impressive operating theatre close by. It was also noted, medical practitioners from around the district highly recommended the Ettrick Bank Hospital.
Later in 1901, Miss Morrison withdrew from the partnership, leaving Annie Christian as the sole proprietor. She employed another two people, described as a certificated nurse and a probationer, to fill the vacancy left by Miss Morrison.
Ettrick Bank Private Hospital ceased to function some years later. It is said that it reverted back to a private dwelling. Many years later, the once proud little hospital became a popular boarding house in this part of town.
To make way for a new wool store in 1955, this majestic old home was demolished, ending yet another colourful chapter in Timaru’s history.
My sketch attempts to recall some of the architectural characteristics, so skilfully displayed by those early designers.