Centaur memorial health precinct officially opened
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Loganlea health training facility named in honour of 2/3rd AHS Centaur
Relatives of passengers from the sunken 2/3rd Australian hospital ship (AHS) Centaur today attended the opening of the Centaur Memorial Health Precinct, a new $4.5 million health training facility at the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE (MSIT) Loganlea campus.
The State Government funded facility features classrooms, staff areas and an industry standard health care ward catering for 460 nursing students, 120 aged care students and 35 teachers.
The facility is named in memory of the Centaur, which was sunk by a submarine off the coast of Brisbane during World War II on 14 May 1943. The tragedy saw 268 lives lost yet miraculously 64 people survived, including Army nurse and George Medal recipient Sister Ellen Savage.
MSIT Faculty Director for Health, Community and Children's Services Karen Scott said the new training centre will afford MSIT health care students an opportunity to learn their profession using modern facilities.
"MSIT is proud to provide world class training for the health care sector and we believe it is essential for students to experience real industry situations prior to practical work placement in hospitals, community health care and aged care facilities," Ms Scott said.
"Since 2005, MSIT has seen an ever increasing demand for qualifications in nursing and aged care. During this time our faculty intake has increased by 30 percent and our new training centre will go a long way to providing relevant qualifications and practical skills for workers entering the health care sector.
"The doctors, nurses, hospital staff and armed forces personnel who died on board the Centaur were serving their country. Many perished while caring for others and we don't want that sacrifice to be forgotten. The training at MSIT focuses on the future innovations in nursing and health care but we also believe it is important to remember the role of nurses and doctors during times of conflict."
The Loganlea facility features one aged care bay and two acute nursing bays, which will be used by MSIT students.
The staff room within the facility is named after Sister Ellen Savage. She was one of 12 registered nurses on board the Centaur and the only surviving nurse. Sister Savage provided medical care to other survivors despite sustaining her own injuries and was awarded the George Medal for her heroism. She died on ANZAC Day in
1985, aged 73.
Pam Gilbert from Cleveland, a member of the 2/3 AHS Centaur Association, lost both her father and uncle when the Centaur sank.
"I think it is marvellous to see the Centaur acknowledged. It is great to see today's health care profession honouring the memory of the doctors, nurses and patients who were on board the ship," Mrs Gilbert said.
Fellow association member Barry McCosker from Highgate Hill also congratulated MSIT for paying tribute to the Centaur.
"My father and uncle were both on board the Centaur when it sank and my dad was the only survivor from Brisbane. He was an orderly who was being trained as a chiropodist on board the ship. My father passed away in 1986 and would have been so pleased to see this nursing facility named in honour of the ship and its crew," Mr McCosker said.
"I see similarities between the Centaur and the MSIT training facilities because the nursing staff on board the ship were all training in the health care field just like the MSIT students. I feel it is my role to keep my dad's memory alive and make sure people do not forget the Centaur."
The AHS Centaur was discovered 2km below the ocean surface on 20 December 2009 by shipwreck hunter David Mearns. The Queensland and Australian Governments funded the successful search for the wreck.
The Queensland and Australian Governments will host an At Sea Thanksgiving and Remembrance Service on Friday, 24 September. Australian navy ship, the HMAS Kanimbla, will be used to transport the families and descendents of those who were on board on the AHS Centaur, to its final resting place 50km east of Moreton Island.
The Centaur Memorial Health Precinct was officially opened by Evan Moorhead MP, State Member for Waterford on behalf of Geoff Wilson MP, Minister for Education and Training.
Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE nursing and aged care course information is available by calling 1300 657 613 or visiting the website at www.msit.tafe.qld.gov.au.