Medical services were non existent in the early days. People relied on home nursing and home cures.
Women in childbirth were attended by local midwives. Two early midwives remembered in Manildra were Mrs Priddis and Mrs Cole. Lovel Rubie recalls, “Mrs Priddis would move in and take over. It was very reassuring”.
In the case of serious illness there was the daunting prospect of travelling to Molong by horse vehicle in order to consult a doctor.
Eventually there were some resident doctors in the town. They included Dr McCloy, Dr Helen Rowe, Dr Rich, Dr Percy, Dr Wilshire, Dr Hillier, Dr Caro, Dr Stephens, Dr Gaden and Dr Neumann.
Dr Eugene Neumann was born in Germany but had been a British subject since 1905. During World War I his duties included conducting medical examinations for volunteers to go to the front. The Orange Leader reported that one particular man was angry because he had been declared medically unfit to go to war, and then alleged that the doctor had yet to pass a single candidate as fit to take up arms against his countrymen, “…which was only to be expected”. Neumann attempted to sue the Leader for £2000 for damaging his reputation and alleging he was a German when in fact he had been a British subject for ten years. Despite the fact that he had rejected only four of 28 candidates a vindictive assault on his character and reputation ensued and he lost his case.
At one stage Sister Whalan ran a small hospital in three consecutive buildings; one situated on the Orange road, one on the hill on the old Orange road and one in Loftus Street.
Sister Brown also ran a hospital, first in a house on the corner of Cudal and Boree street, and then in Derowie Street.
In 1950 Sister Hillman ran a small hospital, but when the only doctor, Doctor Caro, left for Wellington people were forced to travel to Molong or Wellington for treatment. A small government subsidy was available to encourage doctors to move to small centres, but that inducement was not enough to attract a new doctor and the local Member of Parliament, Charles Cutler, was unable to help. The local community subsidised the hospital in an effort to keep it open, but by May 1951 Sister Hillman could no longer manage on her own and was forced to leave.
For many years there was a Baby Health Clinic, which was an initiative of the C.W.A. It was based at the hospital and conducted by Sister Brown, who received an annual salary of £35 ($70) paid by the C.W.A.
Edwards, Elisabeth 2011, In sickness and in health: how medicine helped shape Orange’s history, Orange City Council, Orange N.S.W.
Stapleton, Hazel 1982, Manildra on Mandagery: town and district, Hazel Stapleton, Cudal N.S.W.