The Hospital
We Built

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Two doctors, Dr John Singleton and Dr William Smith, had a vision “to help sick and injured children at no cost to families”. From such humble beginnings, The Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children opened its doors in 1870 with just six beds.

Dr Singleton and Dr Smith’s vision continues, stronger than ever, as does the generosity needed to support it. From its inception, philanthropy and generosity have been cornerstones of the hospital, an institution guided primarily by leadership and compassion.

A name synonymous with history, excellence and trust, for 150 years, the RCH remains at the forefront of paediatric healthcare, providing world-leading care for the sickest and most vulnerable children and their families, locally, nationally and internationally.

Images in our timelines are courtesy of The Royal Children’s Hospital Archives Department.

1870

1870: The Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children opens

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1872: Hospital changes name to Melbourne Hospital for Sick Children

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1876: Melbourne Hospital for Sick Children moves to Carlton

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1887: Hospital officially recognised as a training school for nurses

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1897: Radiology department opens

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1898: New outpatient building opens

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1903: New medical wards open and first babies are admitted

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1907: The new three storey John Robertson nursing home opens in Rathdowne Street

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1914: “Edward Wilson Pavilion” surgical wards open

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1921: First babies ward in Melbourne opens

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1930: Orthopaedic campus opens in Mt Eliza

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1948: Royal Park designated for new Children’s Hospital

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1948: World first use of chemotherapy on leukemia patients

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1953: Hospital receives Royal Assent

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1962: First patients move into new hospital at Parkville

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1963: The Queen officially opens Parkville campus

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1965: Mrs Patricia McKinnon is elected President of the Committee of Management

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1970: RCH celebrates 100 years

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1970: New treatment for premature babies and Handicapped Children’s Centre established

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1973: North-West building at Parkville opens

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1975: Two sets of conjoined twins successfully separated

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1994: MRI equipment first used

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1995: RCH and RWH merge as the “Women’s and Children’s Health Care Network”

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1995: First liver transplant

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2005: First hospital in Australia to offer VAD to children

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2007: First soil turned at new site of RCH

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2009: Conjoined twins Krishna and Trishna separated

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2012: New RCH building opens

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2012: Transgender service established

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2015: National Child Health Poll commences

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2019: Conjoined twins Nima and Dawa separated

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2019: CAR T-cell immunotherapy becomes available to RCH patients

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1870

1870: Mrs Frances Perry elected first president of Ladies Committee of Management

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1874: First “Hospital Sunday” appeal

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1875: Mrs Sarah Bishop commences as Matron

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1879: First medical students accepted

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1880: Hospital receives largest bequest donation before 1900

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1891: First honorary pathologist appointed

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1898: Hospital accepts first female doctor

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1900: Hospital holds three week fundraiser for new kitchens

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1902: First University of Melbourne paediatric representative appointed

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1922: Mary Guthrie appointed as first Auxiliaries president

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1931: Good Friday Appeal founded

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1931: American Women’s Auxiliary founded

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1933: Ella Latham elected as president of the Committee of Management

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1941: Uncle Bobs Club founded

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1942: First all-day radio appeal on Good Friday

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1944: First female Medical Superintendent appointed

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1954: Lady Elisabeth Murdoch elected president of the Committee of Management

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1957: Channel 7 joins Good Friday Appeal

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1960: Hospital receives largest contribution in an appeal to a charity in Australia

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1961: Volunteer service established

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1962: Miss Joan Gendle appointed Lady Superintendent of Nursing

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1965: Dr. L.E.G. Sloan appointed Medical Director

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1973: Rotavirus discovered by Ruth Bishop

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1986: Murdoch Institute founded

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1988: The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation is established

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Everyone Has A Story.

We’d love to hear from you as we celebrate this momentous anniversary throughout 2020. Click here to share your favourite RCH memory or photo.

 

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