1st Australian General Hospital

From Our Contribution

1st Australian General Hospital (1AGH)
1st AGH.jpg
Colour Patches WW1
1st AGH-tents Heliopolis Egypt.jpg
Victorian Museum MM_107441
1st AGH Heliopolis 2.jpg
IAGH Heliopolis - note tram in mid-ground
Name 1st Australian General Hospital
Where formed Queensland
Date formed August 1914
Capacity up to 1,000 patients
Locations Heliopolis, Egypt
Rouen, France
Sutton Veny, England

General Information

Authority to be raised was granted in Aug 1914, and while the Medical Officers and Nurses came from all states, the enlisted men were recruited at Bowen Park camp in Brisbane. At the time of departure from Brisbane on 21 Nov 1914 for Egypt it was structured to care for 520 beds. Aboard HMAT A55 Kyarra it was part of the first convoy from Albany to Alexandria. Also aboard was the 2nd Australian General Hospital; Nos 1 & 2 Australian Stationary Hospitals, and the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station.

On arrival in Egypt on 14 Jan 1915 it was established in a large building and tents at Heliopolis a suburb of Cairo, before opening for patients 10 days later. The patients received consisted of all ranks of the A.I.F., and all classes of cases were treated, physical injuries, diseases and shell shock.

After a short period, and owing to circumstances, the hospital took over other additional premises for the treatment of different classes of cases. Other buildings in Heliopolis such as the Aerodrome, The Luna Park, The Atelier; The Sporting Club, and the Artillery Barracks at Abbasia Depot. Later these separate locations were given their own personnel and equipment and became Numbers 1- 4 Australian Auxiliary Hospitals, with Abbasia being an annex to the main hospital.

During the Gallipoli campaign, and in the time before the majority of the troops redeployed to France, it catered for all war causes - physical injury, diseases, and shell shock, requiring it to be expanded to care for 750 beds. Over a period of 15 months the hospital cared for many thousands of sick and wounded Australian servicemen. In March 1916 the hospital was ordered to close and to follow 1 ANZAC Corps and the 2nd Division to France.

For the shift to France, the hospital was packed up and its patients transferred to the Auxiliary Hospitals, before boarding HMHS Salta. Departing for France from Alexandria on 29 Mar 1916, it was structured for 750 beds, with a Nursing staff of 117. Later during 1916, in France it was enlarged to 1040 beds.

On arrival in Marseilles on 5 Apr 1916 they had to wait several days for orders before proceeding by rail to Rouen, arriving on 13 Apr 1916. Initial size of the hospital in Rouen only required 75 nurses so the balance of 42 were detached to British units. The hospital opened for patients on 29 Apr 1916 and was structured to cater for general battle casualties. Patients came from all British and British empire nations, but only enlisted men as Officers were treated elsewhere.

At the conclusion of hostilities, the hospital ceased to accept new patients from 30 Nov 1918 ahead of its closure on 7 Dec 1918 and its relocation to Sutton Veny in England. At Sutton Veny a hutted hospital had opened in 1916, providing beds for 11 Officers and 1,261 soldiers, and it was to this hospital that staff of 1AGH returned in January 1919. At this time most patients were suffering with the Spanish influenza epidemic, and this was the cause of death for many of the 143 Australians buried in St John's churchyard.


Individual Honours

  • 1 Distinguished Service Order
  • 3 Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)
  • 1 Military Medal
  • 1 Meritorious Service Medal
  • 7 Mention in Despatches

Soldier Patients by date admitted

Heliopolis, Egypt


Rouen, France



Sutton Veny, England 1919

  • Sutton Veny
  • Ward B Sutton Veny
  • Patients & Nurses at Sutton Veny
  • November 1918 Rouen