The COVID-19 pandemic has put the kibosh on official sesquicentenary celebrations marking the opening of Dubbo's public hospital on July 1, 1870.
Instead, more than 1000 hospital staff are being invited to take part in a competition which will boost its collection of about 700 photographs snapped across the past 150 years.
"We want to see life at Dubbo Health Service through their eyes," said director of nursing and midwifery Sam Quarmby.
"We want them to celebrate the fact that they work here and are connected to the community and the hospital."
Hospital staff and supporters may have preferred to celebrate at a ball like the one in 1866 which raised money for the construction of the hospital on land donated by James Samuels.
"I think back to those men and women in the community donating what they could ..," Ms Quarmby said.
"I would hope they would be proud of where we've come and what we're doing and certainly ..what we will be capable of doing in the next 12 to 18 months."
Ms Quarmby said the current redevelopment of Dubbo Hospital would prove "life-changing for our families and communities" because it would make possible new procedures such as an angiogram and the expanding of services including oncology.
The current redevelopment of the hospital has not altered the "original building" opened 150 years ago.
"We're still building around what they created and I think that is amazing," Ms Quarmby said.
The director has been researching the hospital's history and suggests it opened with a Dr Tibbits in charge and a small number of "novice nurses", not to mention beds.
She said patients "predominately" would have been men, many of them suffering injuries from workplace accidents.
"When it originally opened we think it had only two wards but within the first four years they were building extra wards including a fever ward for infectious patients, which given COVID at the moment and all the work we've been doing around that, I thought was quite interesting," Ms Quarmby said.
The director said the hospital had been redeveloped "about four or five times not including what we are doing now".
"It was redeveloped in the sense that they have continued to add on," she said.
In 1944 the growing facility was gazetted as a base hospital, after showing its worth as a district hospital.
Women did not give birth at the hospital until 1947 when a maternity unit was established.
Ms Quarmby highlighted the bequeathing of a hotel and two shops to the hospital in the 1960s, allowing for further expansion.
"Dubbo was the only hospital in Australia to ever own a hotel," she said.
In 2020 Dubbo Hospital is a rural referral hospital.
"We have 24 facilities in the district which feed into us," Ms Quarmby said.
"We provide specialist care above and beyond what they are receiving from their local hospitals.
"This is such an epicentre of the community and probably of the Central West as well."
Some of the hospital's 700 photographs are on display between the general and children's wards.