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Historical Background of Edendale Hospital

Reverend James Allison, a Methodist missionary in 1855 acquired a land on the farm Welverdient, previously owned by Andries Pretorius, and established his second mission which he called “Edendale” . The site chosen for the new hospital in 1945 is in the Edendale area near Plessislaer, 9km from Pietermaritzburg. The seven story building was completed after 3 years. The foundation stone was laid by administrator Dr D.S. Shepstone in July 1951 and the first patients were admitted on the 1st March 1954. Initially, it was meant to accommodate 620 patients but due to a large and rapidly growing population since 1954 more building were erected.

In addition to medical superintendent and his deputy there was a group of part time visiting doctors and specialists. There were posts for senior medical officers and interns but not all of these posts were filled during the early years.

Paramedical staff
Physiotherapists, Radiographers, medical social worker, dispensary staff were also available.

College of Nursing
Edendale Hospital as a training centre received a number of applicants of all races and good results were obtained by student nurses with several distinctions

Employing bodies
The hospital was first administered by NPA from 1 March 1954 to 31st May 1970 when it was taken over by RSA-State up until 30th September 1977. On the 1st of October, KwaZulu Government took over up to 31st March 1994 from the 1st April 1994 to date the hospitals in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal are administered by the Department of Health KwaZulu Natal.

Dr Colenbrander the first radiologist for Edendale Hospital with the 1990/91 group of supplementary trainees of Radiographers before the training became the full responsibility of Durban Institute of Technology

Edendale hospital celebrates 60 years!

Social activities of Edendale Hospital

  • Drum majorettes were formed and were participating in all hospital activities.

  • Soccer team played quite often and won some matches.

  • Basket ball was also played by student nurses and used to invite other teams outside hospital e.g. teachers.

  • Social activities related to doctors: Doctors enjoyed themselves playing field cricket, hockey and golf. There were always representatives from Edendale hospital in the comrade’s marathon and the canoe marathon.


  • Relatively unique in S A was the provision of a post operative recovery ward through which all patients pass after surgery.

  • Also unique in S A was a provision of a central sterilizing departments as well as the separate burns unit.

  • The new wing as an extension of the hospital that provided eight wards was built in 1966.

  • In 1968 the new laboratory, stores department and blood bank were built.

  • In 1969 medical and paediatric out patients departments were added.

  • In 1970, the near-by Cripple Care Centre previously administered by the State Health was transferred to the administration of Edendale Hospital known as “KWAHLENGABANTU”

  • The Edendale Hospital was the first hospital in S A to provide intensive care units for surgical and medical conditions known as 2R. The medical intensive care unit was added in 1974.

  • In 1982 a paediatric surgical intensive care unit was opened next to female surgical ward

  • Staff were transferred from Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg whose congestion was relieved by the erection of Edendale Hospital. Therefore from 1st March 1954 Grey's hospital provided for the needs of whites only. The other races which were Indians, Coloureds, and Blacks were all moved to Edendale Hospital

Significant Information about Edendale hospital history

  • Edendale Hospital is built on the Heritage Site

  • There are children’s graves within the Edendale Hospital Parameters which belong to the Jordaan Family, these date back to 1839

  • Reverend James Allison of the Methodist Church donated the land on which the hospital is built. At that time, it was a farm which was called Welverdient. The farm originally belonged to Commander Andries Pretorius, having been acquired by him in 1846, but he disposed it to his son in law Mr J.D.O. Langsberg in 1849. In 1942, the property was included within the Public Health area of Edendale and District and was subsequently placed under the control of the local health commission.

  • In 1861 a Special Trust was created for the management of Edendale settlement but unfortunately the powers of the trust were divested by special Ordinance number 11 of 1946 and the powers were transferred to the Local Health Commission (Poyinandi).

  • Names of the former Executive Management Members of the hospital, time frames were not available:

    • The Medical Superintendents in the order of sequence were as follows:

      • Dr JL Parker

      • Dr DL Ranking

      • Dr TM Adams

    • The Chief Matrons in their order of sequence were as follows:

      • Mrs E.M Alexander

      • Mrs Knox

      • Mrs H. Williams

      • Mrs J Whitsitt

      • Mrs MME Monaheng

      • Mrs JTN Mseleku

      • Miss N Njozela



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Site last edited on 17 January, 2019 02:37 PM

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