From 1907 to 1919, over 1000 Aboriginal men and women suspected of having venereal diseases were rounded up from across Western Australia and marched, sometimes in chains, to Carnarvon, where they were transported to lock hospitals on the remote Bernier and Dorre Islands.
When the island hospitals were shut down in 1919, The Port Hedland Lock Hospital was built to house the patients.
The buildings remaining on the site comprise of:
- Former hostel converted to offices
- Former dormitories converted to offices
- Former isolation ward
- Former mortuary
- Garden shed;
- Former matron’s quarters
Back in the day, the hospital had comprised of Matron’s Quarters; office; laundry, store; powerhouse; garage; 2 tanks; bitumen tennis court, clothes hoist, laundry, two WCs, staff quarters; fowl run; ablution block; isolation hut wards, recreation hut, the main hospital and medical doctor/surgery rooms.
In 1975 the facility was upgraded after some structures had been demolished. By 1977, only three buildings remained from the Lock Hospital phase of the site’s history.
The former Matron’s Quarters building (now Community Radio Station) was known as Boab House and was used as emergency accommodation for Aboriginal families. And the former Isolation Ward was in use as a drop-in nursing home and the former Mortuary building was in use as a store-room.