Case Study: St Vincent’s Private Hospital Interactive Timeline
Five months ago
Holy Cow! was commissioned to create an interactive timeline detailing the history of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney as a permanent installation in the foyer of the new East Wing, part of the $150 million redevelopment of the world-renowned hospital.
Inspired by a permanent exhibition at the Mary Aikenhead Heritage Centre in Dublin, the installation was to contain a variety of content delivered in various ways to tell the story of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney – past, present and future.
Part exhibition, part digital experience, the multimedia installation combines interactive touchscreens, original video content, push-button audio, illuminated images and large-format environmental graphics to inform and engage patients, visitors and staff in the new waiting area.
To offer true accessibility in a hospital environment, the interactive touchscreen sequences also include a drop-down menu feature for those in a wheelchair.
Over eight metres in length, the interactive timeline is presented in a linear format, from its early origins with Mary Aikenhead in Ireland in 1815, Tarmons – the site of the first St Vincent’s Hospital in Potts Point in 1857, the new private hospital in 1909 and the new East Wing development, culminating in the future of medicine through research and technology.
The large-format environmental graphics also feature a view of Sydney Harbour from the north shore in 1806 by surveyor and artist Robert Russell, and the view from Tarmons in 1845, both sourced from the National Library of Australia.
The wall also showcases 13 plexiglass, pin-fixed images, four of which illuminate at the touch of a button with a corresponding audio narrative.
Two 55” digital touchscreens present a range of interactive content, including topics such as The Women of St Vincent’s Private, Famous Patients (including Elton John, Dame Nellie Melba and Kerry Packer), Working at St Vincent’s Private Hospital and Medical Breakthroughs. The spirit of this world-class institution is also captured in Mission, Values and Charism and The Patient Care Experience.
The interactive content contains over 30 individual interviews with specialist doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers to present an in-depth and interesting cross section of the St Vincent’s Private community – a dedication to excellence and providing outstanding patient care was common thread between all of those we spoke to.
Mrs Roslyn Packer, Patron of the Friends of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, also graciously welcomed our crew into her home to record a sequence about how benefactors in the community have supported the hospital from the outset.
One particularly special moment for Holy Cow! during this project was the opportunity to interview father and son duo, Drs Paul and David Roy. The anecdotes shared by these remarkable cardiologists, both on and off the camera, put a smile on the faces of everyone in the room as they shared personal stories of their special bond and their unique association with St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney.
As well as the privilege of being invited to work on a creative project of such historic significance, this project has given us a deeper respect for all the incredible people who have been part of the St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney story, since the very beginning.
With the expert guidance of the hospital’s archivist, Anne Cooke, and the Sisters of Charity’s historian, Sr Moira O’Sullivan, the rich traditions of the hospital, both spiritually and operationally, are now on display.
Not without its challenges, this comprehensive project has delivered on the original brief: to create an engaging and informative experience for patients, visitors and staff by showcasing the hospital’s dedication to its values and its vision – research-driven, excellent and compassionate health and aged care.