Yass Hospital's historic roses bloom 70 years on

The 36 historic roses relocated to Yass Landcare Community Nursery while the Yass Hospital redevelopment is underway are blooming.

A working bee was busy on November 19 watering the roses and taking advice from local horticulturalist George Dashwood about how to look after the roses until they are replanted.

"They're doing really well," Mr Dashwood said. "The group has done a great job. Now it will be down to care and attention."

Protecting the roses from the wind and heat over summer would be key, Mr Dashwood said.

COMING UP ROSES: Janet Grubb and Jill McGovern check Yass Hospital's historic roses in bloom at Yass Landcare Community Nursery. Photo: Hannah Sparks

COMING UP ROSES: Janet Grubb and Jill McGovern check Yass Hospital's historic roses in bloom at Yass Landcare Community Nursery. Photo: Hannah Sparks

The plan is to replant the roses in mid-August 2020 during root initiation, as long as the hospital redevelopment is completed.

The roses have been iconic to the hospital for 70 years and were catalogued, photographed and transported in May 2019 to protect them from construction during the redevelopment.

A group of volunteers from Yass Garden Club, Yass Landcare Community Nursery and Richard Crookes Construction, which is running the redevelopment, worked with the Yass Hospital redevelopment team to preserve the roses.

"Richard Crookes was very supportive. They transported the roses to the nursery and purchased bags for the roses," Yass Hospital Community Consultation Committee chair Jill McGovern said.

Yass Garden Club also took multiple cuttings from the roses to ensure they survived the move.

The club provided the potting mix, pots to number and catalogue and take the cuttings, while the nursery houses and takes care of them.

The history of Yass Hospital's roses dates back to 1949 and possibly even further.

In June of that year, the Yass Tribune-Courier reported that fifty roses were planted outside the nurses quarters and it seemed interest in Yass Hospital's gardens grew from there.

The hospital's grounds were promised to be, "one of the show-places of the town", the Tribune-Courier reported in November 1952.

Two years later, in November 1954, Yass Hospital grounds were "a mass of colour from thousands of blooms flowering," the newspaper reported.

"About 200 rose bushes are in the full splendour of their one early summer blooming, most of them on the lower slope near Sheahan House."

While Judith Williams was hospital matron, from 1968-2002, extra roses were donated to the gardens.

"Jackie Longley donated some in memory of her mother. I bought a lot for my father," she said.

It was perhaps Ms Williams and the hospital's gardener at the time, David Matthews' love of roses that saw them stay.

There were also a couple planted for nurse Nancy Carey who rebuilt membership to Yass Garden Club at a time when numbers were low, Ms Williams said.

Ms Williams said Yass Hospital's gardens won awards at Yass Show.

Trees that still exist at the hospital were also planted for former staff, early Yass Hospital Auxiliary members and for the hospital's 150th anniversary.

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