This very informative book published by The Rhodesian Printing and Publishing Company in 1956 encompasses 300 selections from The Rhodesia Herald.
Combining my love of books, history and writing, I thought, before selling it on, it would be interesting to blog about some of the articles I have found amidst it’s pages.
The Story of Salisbury’s Hospitals
This article to be found on page 251 of the book, informs me that Father Hartmann, a chaplain to the Pioneer Column, opened the first hospital in Salisbury in 1890. The hospital consisted of three huts a marquee and a couple of tents situated on land near the Makabusi River. It could accommodate +/- 12 patients and was run by a Dr. Rand and one Police orderly.
(pic of Makabusi River now known as Mukuvisi from http://zimfieldguide.com/harare/mukuvisi-woodlands-wildlife-and-environment-centre)
Father Andrew Hartmann
Wanting to know more of the “Father Hartmann” mentioned above I took to Family Search to see if I could find more details among the records that can be found in their online archives. Yes, my luck was in and I managed to find his death notice providing me with a lot more insight into the man who opened the first hospital. His full name was Andrew Hartmann and he was born in Austria circa 1851. At the time of his death on the 27th of December 1928 he is recorded as being single with his usual place of residence being Hartmann Hill. His occupation was recorded as Priest in Charge. Father Hartmann died at Salisbury Hospital and the death notice records his intended place of burial as Chishawasha Mission.
Perhaps I could find out more about Father Andrew Hartmann by consulting my copy of the Historical Dictionary of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe by R. Kent Rasmussen? Once again I was in luck! This dictionary further tells me that Father Andrew Hartmann a Jesuit Missionary travelled to Bulawayo as a priest in the “Zambezi Mission” of 1888. He then spent two years with a Peter Prestage at “Empandeni” before serving as a Roman Catholic Chaplain with the “BSAC Pioneer Column” On behalf of the Jesuits he accepted a tract of land near Salisbury where he and Prestage founded the Chishawasha Mission. In later years he returned to “Empandeni” where he stayed until 1924.
( Pic – http://www.lind.org.zw/history/old_zimbabwe/churches/chishawasha.htm)
It seems somewhat fitting that the hospital that Andrew Hartmann originally opened should provide a place for him to spend his last days and that a mission, Chishawasha, also founded by him should provide his final resting place.
Dr. Richard Frank Rand
So who was the Dr. Rand mentioned in the article as being the person who ran the first hospital in Salisbury? I dug around in my bookshelf and eventually found mention of him in my copy of the book Men Who Made Rhodesia A Register Of Those Who Served In The British South Africa Company’s Police. by Colonel A.S. Hickman. Here I read that the person in question was one Richard Frank Rand, a Surgeon Captain with the B.S.A.C. He was born in Essex and educated in Edinburgh, his full title being, Surgeon- Captain Richard Frank Rand, F.R.C.S. ( Eng.), M.D. (Edin.) Rand practised in Jamaica before travelling to Kimberley in South Africa where he met Rhodes who persuaded him to give up his practice in in Johannesburg and join an expedition to Mashonaland as senior medical officer of the Company’s Police. Rand is described in the book as being earnest, studious and sincere with plenty to say for himself whilst having a refreshing and dry sense of humour. He was a member of the first local body, the Sanitary Board established in Salisbury in 1891. He was not however in favour of the Hospital Board, established in 1892, and thus resigned from the service of the Company and became the first Private practitioner in Salisbury. He was resident surgeon at Mother Patrick’s first hospital and was apparently famous for his fever cure known as “Rand’s Kicker”, which was said to be an effective but most unpleasant mixture. Jeannie Boggie’s book Experiences of Rhodesia’s Pioneer Women also mentions “Rand’s Kicker! Apparently a Mr. J Caruther’s referred to it as a beastly mixture that left its nauseous taste for hours afterwards, but was however a sure cure. Mr W.H. Smart of Gwelo asked Dr. Rand why it was called “Kicker” to which the doctor replied “Well, it’s either because people kick so much against swallowing it or the mixture kicked all the fever out of them.”
Later Rand ran a practice from a hut in Pioneer Street where a white house was eventually built behind the surgery. He is said to have been looked upon with great affection by his patients. In his spare time Dr. Rand was a keen botanist whose passion for plants and flowers meant much of his spare time was spent collecting and identifying them. His investigations led to a number of species being added to the herbarium of the British Museum.
(From Men Who Made Rhodesia – Col. A.S. Hickman. Surgeon Capt.Richard Frank Rand is in the back row)
A delightful story concerning Dr. Rand is recorded in Hickman’s book. It tells of how, called to a patient in Mazoe, Dr. Rand rode off with his surgical bag only to find the Gwebi River in full flood. Having decided that it would be best for the horse to swim across while he held its tail , Dr. Rand stripped off, made a bundle of his clothes and bag, and tied these to the horse’s saddle. Both he and the horse did reach the other side, however the horse was slightly ahead and thus got up the steep and slippery bank before the good doctor could! He trotted on ahead with Rand trailing behind in only his hat. One by one the doctor’s boots fell off the saddle. He retrieved them both and arrived at Mazoe behind his horse still wearing only his boots and hat!
By 1894 Rand was reducing his involvement with medicine and had become managing director of the Mount Darwin Syndicate, a mining company. He served in the South African War of 1899-1902 returning to Rhodesia in 1910 but due to deafness hampering his work he returned to England until he once again served with the South African Forces as a Lieutenant Colonel in World War I. He later practised in Hartley until retiring to England where he died at Brightlingsea, Essex in 1937.
Mother Patrick and the Dominican Sisters.
(pic- Experiences of Rhodesia’s Pioneer Women – Jeannie M. Boggie)
In July 1891, Mother Patrick arrived with 4 other sisters and took over the hospital. They moved to new premises at the end of that year. By 1901 the hospital work had become too much for the sisters and Miss Ronaldson took over as matron.
The story of Mother Patrick and her work in Rhodesia is well known but wanting to know more about the other four Dominican sisters who travelled with her I did some internet searching and have learned from information I found online that they were Sister Berchmans Dreier aged 26 ( German), Sister Bonaventura Kaltenstadler, aged 20, ( German), Sister Amica Kilduff, aged 35, of Irish stock but born in South Africa. and Sister Constantia Frommknecht aged 24 ( from St Ursula in Augsburg Germany). They travelled more than 1200 miles by ox-wagon to Fort Salisbury arriving on July 27 1891. they took up their duty at the primitive hospital there on the 1st of August. Amazing how little time they took to recover from such an epic journey! ( info from https://dominicanmissionarysisters.org/about-us/our-story/ )
Family Search gave me more info on some of the Sisters in question.
Sister Berchmans Dreier lived until the ripe old age of 92 and was residing at the Borrowdale Convent at the time of her death on 31st January, 1957. Her death notice tells us that she died at St. Anne’s Hospital and was to be buried at Salisbury Cemetery. She was at the time known as Rev. Mother Mary Berchmans and her surname is recorded as Dreyer.
Sister Amica Kilduff lived until age 89, she died at The Anglesey Borrowdale Road on the 8th of December 1943. Her death notice records her as Catharine Kilduff ( Mother Amica).
According to my copy of Jean Boggie’s book Experiences of Rhodesia’s Pioneer Women the pioneer band of Sisters travelled in a double-size wagon which the troops who travelled with them affectionately named “Noah’s Ark.” They took with them a tent to serve as a chapel and in it Holy Mass was said daily.
There is a description of the first hospital that the sisters arrived at in Fort Salisbury “The hospital consisted of a few wattle and daub huts, which had belonged to Father Hartmann, a large marquee and a few tents, but the only couch for the sick was the damp earth. Calico was used as windows. in place of glass. Huts were erected for the Sisters, but were not completed when they arrived, so for some time they lived in their Noah’s Ark.” The book goes on further to describe the new buildings constructed later in 1891- two wattle and daub wards, two huts for women, and a canvas ward for eight patients. There was also a canvas “house for the Sisters. Both canvas buildings had a corrugated iron roof, supported by posts.
By 1892 the Sisters were terribly overworked at the hospital( 308 patients had passed through the hospital in the first few months of that year) and reinforcements were sent for. Boggie’s book tells us that when eventually brick building were erected to house the hospital a “joyful bonfire” was made of the old thatched wards! In September 1894 the B.S.A. Reports recorded that a new large brick hospital was being erected . According to Boggie’s book this took the form of three sides of a square, had boarded floors, post- mortem room, mortuary, operating theatre, etc. ” So at last dear Mother Patrick was going her rounds in a beautiful new hospital , saying:’Oh, the delight of a wooden floor to walk on; real beds, real windows, and real doors, which actually open and shut!’.”
In 1912 after much debate the new Salisbury Hospital was erected on it’s present site.
By 1956 when the book was published there were a number of hospitals in the capital.
St Anne’s was run by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary.
The Lady Chancellor Nursing Home for maternity cases had originally started in premises on North Avenue and was named for the wife of Southern Rhodesia’s first Governor.
The Princess Margaret Hospital which was at that time for Coloured and Asian patients only was opened by its namesake in 1953.