LOOKING at Lisa Schonberg’s unearthly photograph Warley, Tragic Loss, you feel that at any moment the doctors and nurses will return and a patient will be wheeled in and placed onto the waiting hospital bed.
The photo shows a fully furnished examination room with dust sheets casually thrown over the medical equipment.
The photograph is Schonberg’s protest at the closure in 2008 of an institution that had such an important place in the Phillip Island community, including in her own life.
When her daughter Alia was a baby, she frequently suffered from croup, and several times they headed for the emergency department in the middle of the night. “When you’ve got a three-month old baby who’s ill, it was very reassuring to know the hospital was just around the corner. It was a very sad loss for the island.”
Going back to photograph the hospital after it closed was a haunting experience, says. “Everything was still there: the vases, the coffee cups were still in reception, the nurses’ keys were hanging up. They literally threw sheets over everything and walked out.”
She was persuaded to enter the photograph in the Easter exhibition by Christine Grayden from the Phillip Island Historical Society and it got her thinking.
She would like to put together a book of photographs and stories from residents about what the hospital meant to them and present it to the musuem.