Notifications and deaths from tuberculosis rose after World War I but then declined throughout the 1920s and 1930s despite the absence of effective treatment. However the 1940s saw another rise in the numbers of tuberculosis patients as a result of servicemen returning from World War II and the beginnings of post war immigration to Western Australia. In 1941 Dr Linley Henzell was appointed as the Medical Superintendent at Wooroloo Sanatorium, and to accommodate the increase in patients he began a period of renovation and modernisation of the facilities as little work had been done since it was originally built.
In 1943 the Wooroloo Colony Committee was formed and plans were made for the provision of extra staff accommodation. An occupational therapy scheme was instigated, modelled on the lines of a tuberculosis village at Papworth in England. Works were funded by State Government and Lotteries Commission grants, street appeals and other fund raising. These works included upgrading of the carpenter’s shop, construction of the hostel using patient labour to accommodate friends and families of patients and staff, adaptation of the tinsmith’s shop for industrial rehabilitation purposes and the clearing and planting of two acres of land for vegetable gardens and four acres for an orchard. The tin smithy developed into quite a large factory and included Heine presses for pressing out tinwear and metal washers.
In 1946 an amendment of the Health Act led to the establishment of the Tuberculosis Control Branch and appointment of Dr Linley Henzell as the first State Director of Tuberculosis for WA. The first community chest x-ray survey was carried out in 1947 on selective populations (with chest x-rays becoming compulsory on all persons over 14 years by 1949).
Around this time the Tuberculosis Association of Western Australia was formed (the original predecessor of the current Westcare Incorporation). This voluntary organisation was set up to assist in the rehabilitation and monitoring of the welfare of patients at Wooroloo Colony and to assist in educating the public on the need for x-rays for early detection of tuberculosis. The association sought to “lighten the twilight period between discharge from hospital or clinical treatment and obtaining proper employment by providing a measure of employment and a restoration of personal confidence and interest, and providing some funds to tide them over.”
One of the early fundraising activities conducted by the association was the printing and distribution of Christmas seal stamps in Western Australia to raise awareness of tuberculosis. The Christmas seal campaign originated in Europe in 1904 when a Danish postal clerk developed the idea of adding an extra charitable stamp on mailed holiday greetings during Christmas to raise money for children who were sick with tuberculosis. The idea spread to many different tuberculosis associations across Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America and Australia. The Tuberculosis Association of Western Australia (now Westcare) have continued with the Christmas seals fundraising campaigns for many years since.
By late 1947 approval was given for the establishment of the chest clinic at Perth Hospital that would become the centre for the treatment of tuberculosis, taking over from Wooroloo Sanatorium. Dr Linley Henzell and Dr Alan King (who in 1947 joined the WA Public Health Department as a tuberculosis physician) opened the chest clinic in 1948 at Hibernian Hall, taking over from the Tuberculosis Outpatient Clinic at Royal Perth Hospital.
In 1949 the Wooroloo Colony Committee and the Tuberculosis Association of WA amalgamated, with the Tuberculosis Association of WA taking over responsibility for the farm colony.