Liz, Arthur and Lyn clock up 108 years at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital


Retiring within weeks of each other, Liz Bergstrum, Arthur Henderson and Lyn Greener have an incredible 108 years of combined service to St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital.

Reminiscing together was a wonderful opportunity to hear about their shared and individual experiences as well as the significant changes during their time at the hospital. Good luck in your retirement Liz, Arthur and Lyn!

Liz Bergstrum, Clinical Nurse Manager

I started at St Andrew's as an EEN in 1979 but had to resign in 1983 and 1989 when I had my two children as there was no maternity leave – you simply had to resign in those days. 

I started at St Andrew’s Nursing Home before moving into theatre. I stayed in theatre until 1989 and then after the birth of my second child.

After completing my degree, I worked on the eye ward which then became a general surgical ward as eye patients tended to become day or overnight only. I became CNM in November 2007. During this time the surgical ward moved to various areas in the hospital to accommodate the growing surgical casemix, and in 2021 I moved to 5D to set up the short stay adult surgical and paediatric ward.

Over the years I have seen St Andrew's more than triple in size, and I never cease to be amazed at the resilience of St Andrew's staff who take everything in their stride and just get on with the job. This has never been more evident over the last couple of years with the pandemic and cyber incident. During the cyber incident, my young staff had a panic about how to work offline without all our systems. I just showed them how we used to do things before the internet! For years, we didn’t email – we simply picked up the phone or walked to whomever we needed to talk to.

What I will miss most is the camaraderie amongst the staff as well as the daily patient contact.

My plans were to travel and still are but obviously limited to Australia and New Zealand for the time being. I am lucky that I have travelled quite extensively overseas so checking out my own back yard will be a treat.

I am also looking forward to having more time to spend with my two grandsons and catching up with family and friends. I have quite a few friends who have retired, so I don't think my social life will suffer.

Arthur Henderson, Director of Corporate Services

I started at St Andrew’s on 1 June 1987 as the hospital accountant and was appointed by Pixie Annat MBE OAM. At that time the hospital was owned by the Presbyterian Church and was a ‘stand alone’ hospital not affiliated with any group.

Although I started as the accountant, I have held other positions including Director of Finance, Director of Finance and IT, and finally the Director of Corporate Services. In 2000 the hospital was sold to the Uniting Church and became part of Uniting Care Health and I was appointed as the Group Revenue Manager initially located at offices in Rosalie before moving to North Quay.

In the early days, everyone knew everyone and you could say it was just like a family. Miss Annat was quite a force and made a lasting impression on me because of her kind and caring nature. She remains a family friend to this day and an ardent follower of my son’s operatic career. In those days Miss Annat had a red light/green light system outside of her office and you most certainly didn’t knock or interrupt at all if the red light was on. However, if my young son happened to be in the hospital, he’d run straight to Pixie’s office and barge right in, taking no notice of the lights and she would welcome him with open arms! Pixie set a wonderful example of how to treat people in the best possible way and I think that’s why she led such a great hospital.

The significant things that changed over time have include computers and the internet and a few new buildings! Just as Liz mentioned, prior to computers being installed we would simply talk with our staff instead of sending a number of emails. The first computer system was installed in the hospital on 1 January 1988. It had to be in place ready for the New Year and it was quite an event. It took ages to dial in to the internet and we used to back up the system three times a day.

During my time with the organisation I have had the honour of being the auditor for St Andrew’s Auxiliary and just completed my 35th consecutive annual audit. It has been a pleasure working with such a dedicated group of people whose sole aim is to raise funds for the benefit of the hospital.

I will always cherish making the “We are family” video and never forget being involved in the “Braveheart” production which was without doubt the pinnacle of my acting career!

I will definitely miss the people here and the camaraderie that makes St Andrew’s a truly great hospital. I will miss having my office outside the doctor’s lounge and having them pop in, normally to complain about our part-time Director of Medical Services! I will miss being told by Sonya what colour of shirt to wear and I will really miss being told by Deborah that the chocolate jar is empty. I definitely won’t miss the IT hassles!

I haven’t got any fixed plans for my retirement – my wife Shirley has plenty of plans for me but I’m just happy to see what happens. No doubt there will be lots of international travel when the borders re-open and I am really looking forward to my son’s debut performance at the Sydney Opera House in January 2022.

Lyn Greener, Patient Administration Manager

I only came to St Andrew’s for six weeks on 4 March 1987, to work as a debt collector for the hospital. The retiring accountant Tom Laurie (who Arthur replaced) offered me a permanent job and told me I had to start the very next day. I explained that tomorrow was my birthday and I wasn’t planning on working to which he said that if I wanted the job I had to start then!   I worked in the debt collecting roll for a short time before I took over the front office administration role – we have more than 60 staff in the team now compared to all those years ago.

In those days, we were jack of all trades, we worked across all departments, the wards, the emergency centre, front admin, you name it, we could do it. I still encourage multiskilling today as it gives the team much greater depth.

I do recall fondly one night my colleague Maureen McKinley and I were still in the hospital at around two o’clock in the morning and we were pretty tired but decided to push each other up and down the corridors in a wheelchair – I mean who was going to see us! Turns out Pixie Annat had been called into the hospital for an emergency situation and as we rounded a corner, there she was in her dressing gown! All she said was “We’ll talk in the morning”.

In the 1990s we lost power for three whole days and nights which was a complete nightmare. But as usual, nothing was too hard for our staff who formed a chain to ferry food to around the hospital the whole time. Everything was done manually and people just got in and helped. Many of us didn’t go home for days and we set up a special room at the end of 4E to rest, shower and change.

Computers, telephone switchboards and health fund contracts have been some of the changes in my area. Everything we did prior to computers was all manual – and when you think about it, we weren’t taught how to use computers at school – we just had to learn.

I will also miss the people here. I have enjoyed developing our team and helping people find their place. I definitely won’t miss the midnight phone calls!

My plans for retirement are to downsize our lifestyle and be able to stop and smell the roses. I want to spend more time with my grandchildren and travel when we can.