The Spirit of St Andrew's by Rupert McCall


A tribute to St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital by renowned Australian Poet, Rupert McCall OAM.

The spirit of St Andrew’s is a very special thing

And it echoes through the building, bed to bed and wing to wing

It’s a ghost that’s hard to quantify when accolades accrue

But the rock of its foundation lends a most compelling clue

That ‘something’ truly sacred in the fibre of its core

Memorial to qualities our country took to war

Selflessness in service when affinities abide

Honour, perseverance, hope, humility and pride

Wherever it may take you on tomorrow’s stunning dawn

The truth is shining bravely in the light where it was born

Ingredients uncompromised by time’s determination

That’s what makes this hospital a constant inspiration


The spirit of St Andrew’s was united from day one

Nineteen Forty-Eight and what was beautifully spun

Were the aims of an Auxiliary – a passionate elect

Not only raising money but community respect

The power of the people in a tight-knit kinda’ town

Doctor Harold Crawford wore a very humble crown

As the chairman first presiding when that ribbon hit the floor

The hospital was open and inherent in the score –

From the outset, through the 60s, with an appetite to lead

A team of great ambition on a mission to succeed

And very soon, achievements that attracted adulation

The spirit of St Andrew’s was renowned across the nation


The spirit of St Andrew’s is a most contagious force

The science and the medicine are paramount of course

In the ballad of ‘best practice’, it’s a stanza well-rehearsed

If breakthroughs were a race to win, so often they’d be first!

Intensive care facilities, a children’s ward to treasure

Where joy reveres bionic ears and joint replacement measures

But scan the vital organ that was beating from the start

And x-rays will reveal that it’s a matter of the heart

With cardiac charisma, so the storyline is told!

It’s a world class acclamation – it’s a medal coloured gold

It’s a standard still adhered to... and when all is done and said

It’s a torch that will be carried on the future path ahead


Yes, the progress of St Andrew’s is a blessing to embrace

Yet the fortifying factor that personifies the place

Transcending beds and budgets as the ever ‘in-betweener’

From the admin to the nurses, from the doctor to the cleaner

With a smile of true compassion and a touch endeared with care

The people of St Andrew's are its ‘who and why and where’

It isn’t manufactured or pretended on the run

As warm and reassuring as the rising of the sun

In the midst of great adversity as often is the case

The light that guides us onward needs to shine from someone’s face

Where the patient takes priority in every single way

So the duty of this hospital will dignify the day...


When I think about my grandad and the cause for which he fought

The beauty of St Andrew’s sends a reassuring thought

A true Australian freedom with a celebrated worth

Moving forward with momentum yet remaining down to earth

And its unencumbered promise waves an optimistic wand

A commitment to our health that goes above and then beyond

To the families of tomorrow who are duly reimbursed

With the simple understanding that their wellbeing comes first

The legacy is mighty where traditions proudly lurk

Now the time has come, I feel, to honour those who make it work

Yes, to thank the many hearts whose dedication does ensure

That the spirit of St Andrew’s will prevail forever more...


Rupert McCall © 2022