Hospital artefacts “on loan only”

HISTORICAL artefacts of the Royal Derwent Hospital including Willow Court were loaned and not sold to the purchasers of the site when it was off-loaded by the State Government in 2001. A report by the state Auditor-General earlier this year revealed:

  • The loan would be for a 10-year duration, finishing in January 2011. 
  • Items were not to be removed, lent, sold or traded, without permission. 
  • The borrower would insure the collection. 
  • An inventory would be maintained to include details of condition of the items. 
  • The borrower was to safeguard the collection by taking reasonable steps to prevent damage, loss or theft. 
  • The borrower was to provide an annual report on the collection. 

Titled Report of the Auditor-General No. 9 of 2012–13, Royal Derwent Hospital site sale, the report said: “The RDH site included equipment, furniture, fittings and other inventory (the collection) which were considered to be of historical significance to Tasmania and which were not sold under the Agreement for Sale. Instead, those items were covered by a separate schedule that provided for the parties to enter into a loan agreement.”

Seeking to confirm that the cultural artefacts from the site “were secured and had not been lost or stolen”, the Auditor-General’s office “found that the collection was held by Derwent Valley Council, and inspected a number of the items, which were held in a number of secure facilities.”

The Auditor-General’s report said there was no up-to-date inventory, thus making it impossible to perform a complete reconciliation. “Instead, we focused on some of the more obviously attractive items from the original list and we were able to locate each of those items. Our impression was that at least most of the 814 items from the original list were present. On the other hand, we found no inventory updates or annual reports to the Crown, by either Lachlan River Community Holdings or Derwent Valley Council. We were also advised that no physical handover sheets were provided, or reconciliation performed, when LRCH was dissolved and the site sold to DVC.”

The auditor-general recommended that “the Derwent Valley Council does a stocktake of cultural artefacts of the RDH site and negotiates with Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts about future custody and display of the items.”

Read the Auditor-General’s report here.

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