Northern Illawarra residents have long campaigned for a better hospital - and the new Bulli Hospital and Aged Care Centre is definitely worth the wait.
Every aspect of the nearly $54 million state-of-the-art facility has been designed with the elderly patients it will soon care for in mind.
From the colour-coded doors to help dementia patients get their bearings to the contrasting toilet seats for those with a vision impairment - it's clear much thought has been put into its design.
Clinical staff and patients are now looking forward to moving over from the old, outdated Bulli Hospital - just over the road - on Tuesday, August 11.
"It's a wonderful purpose-built facility which replaces the old Bulli Hospital," said Nicole Sheppard, Northern Illawarra Hospitals Group general manager.
"It is a much larger facility on a greenfield site. There were 52 aged care sub-acute beds at the old site, there'll be 60 beds here.
"There's a purpose-built dementia area, designed with lots of consultation with specialists to give patients the best experience.
"It has all the features of the old site, but they're all enhanced."
The centre has been built by NSW Health and IRT Group as part of a public private partnership.
NSW Health provided $37.1 million towards the hospital project - including $14.5 million from the Restart Illawarra Infrastructure Investment Fund - with IRT investing $16.6 million.
IRT will manage the adjoining 60-suite residential aged care centre, while the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District will manage the public hospital.
That will include inpatient care, as well as a range of outpatient and community health services, for the region's ageing population.
Northern Illawarra residents and visitors of any age will also benefit from the urgent primary care centre, which will be open from 7am to 10pm to treat minor illnesses and injuries.
Ms Sheppard paid tribute to the Bulli community - past and present - for supporting the hospital over the years.
For the hospital's history is entwined in that of its community. It was a year after the Bulli Mine Disaster of 1887 - which took the lives of 81 men and boys - that the northern suburbs community first came together for a public meeting to push for a hospital.
Bulli Cottage Hospital was officially opened on May 20, 1893, and consisted of a five-bed male ward and two-bed female ward. By 1908 an additional male ward and operating theatre were opened.
In 1916, the hospital purchased a horse-drawn ambulance and by 1922 it was renamed Bulli District Memorial Hospital.
Growth continued for several decades, but by the '70s cracks were beginning to show.
In the '80s services including maternity were cut and in 2012 - despite a concerted effort by the Save Bulli ED campaign - the emergency department was closed and in its place an urgent care centre was established.
Work on the new Bulli Hospital and Aged Care Centre began in 2017. While a planned open day to showcase the new facility cannot go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions, Ms Sheppard said an official opening would occur in the coming months.
"We need to pay tribute to the Bulli community," she said.
"The first Bulli Cottage Hospital was built thanks to local miners donating money from their pay and other community members holding fundraising events.
"For more than 120 years it stood the test of time ... but it's time now for a new facility with state-of-the-art equipment and services for this community."
Ms Sheppard said the old site would be decommissioned, and while there were no plans for it as yet, it could provide opportunities for the district in the future.
Labor's health spokesman, Keira MP Ryan Park said he welcomed the announcement that the hospital would soon open its doors, after a nearly decade-long community campaign to upgrade the facility.
"I want to thank once again the thousands of community members who joined the campaign for a new Bulli Hospital way back in 2010," he said. "The new hospital is a project that I was determined to see become a reality.
"There have been many obstacles, debates, and arguments along the way, but the community's fighting spirit and dogged determination has ensured the people of the northern Illawarra will be able to receive treatment in this modern new health facility."
Staff will start the move from August 7; with patients to follow on August 11. The new facility will be open to the community from August 12, though there will be added precautions - including restricted visitor numbers - in place due to COVID-19.
The new centre will have a new phone number: 4249 1300.