Archives

About Archives RCH

  • The Archives Department functions as the corporate memory of the Royal Children's Hospital. The hospital was one of the first in Victoria to recognise the need for managing its historical records and established a part-time Archivist position in 1983. The Archives also provides advice to internal departments on the retention, disposal and storage of administrative records in accordance with the Public Records Act. The department is supported by an advisory committee.

    The archival collection consists of the existing administrative records of the hospital executive, nursing administration and training records, complete sets of annual reports of both the hospital and affiliated groups such as research, auxiliaries and volunteers, biographical material on a large number of medical, nursing and executive staff, a wonderful photograph collection of over 12,000 images, oral history tapes and some historical films and videos.

    The Archives continues to be an invaluable resource to a wide range of both internal and external researchers. Many of these resources were pulled together by Dr. Peter Yule to publish a substantial history of the hospital in 1999. (available from the RCH Auxiliaries shop and Shop Online) and by Margaret McInnes in 2006, with her comprehensive history of nursing at the RCH. (available from the Auxiliaries Office).

    The RCH Historical Room, used extensively for meetings within the hospital, houses a small museum collection of artefacts and a selection of photographs and other memorabilia for which the Archivist is responsible.

    Another important role of the Archives Department is to maintain a register and control the movement and maintenance of the hospital's valuable artworks and cultural assets collection.

    A brief history of the RCH

    1870

    The "Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children", opened by Drs William Smith and John Singleton at 39 Stephen St in the CBD.

    Mrs Frances Perry is elected as the first President of a ladies Committee of Management.

    Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children 1870 - The RCH

    1872

    The hospital changes its name to the "Melbourne Hospital for Sick Children" and moves to bigger premises at 13 Spring St.

    Melbourne Hospital for Sick Children 1872 - The RCH

    1874

    The first "Hospital Sunday" appeal results in £223, much of which came from State schools.

    Hospital Sunday appeal 1874 - The RCH

    1875

    Mrs Sarah Bishop is Matron and will stay until 1898.

    Mrs Sarah Bishop Matron of The RCH 1875

    1876

    The Children's Hospital moves to the former home of famous Melbourne judge Redmond Barry on the corner of Pelham and Rathdowne Sts, Carlton with 24 beds.

    The RCH relocated to former home of Melbourne judge Redmond Barry 1876

    1878

    An Infectious Diseases Pavilion opens.

    Organised training of nurses begins and a uniform is introduced (paid for by nurses).

    The RCH Infectious Diseases Pavilion opens 1878

    1879

    A three year training course for nurses is introduced for which a "Certificate of Competance" is awarded.

    The first medical students are accepted at the hospital.

    First medical students accepted at The RCH 1879

    1884

    The Brighton Convalescent Cottage opens in Holyrood St.

    The RCH - The Brighton Convalescent Cottage opens in Holyrood St 1884

    1886

    Much building work commences and inpatient capacity increases to 30 beds. New operating rooms open.

    Inpatient capacity increases to 30 beds at The RCH 1886

    1887

    The hospital is officially recognised as a training school for nurses.

    The RCH recognised as a training school for nurses 1887

    1889

    Nurse training formally begins.

    Nurse training formally begins at The RCH 1889

    1891

    The first telephone is installed at the hospital.

    The first Honorary Pathologist, Dr. C.H. Mollison is appointed.

    The first telephone is installed at The RCH 1891

    1896

    An antitoxin is first used for the highly infectious disease, Diphtheria

    Diptheria antitoxin used at The RCH 1896

    1897

    The hospital is the first public hospital in Melbourne to open a Radiology department under Dr. Herbert Hewlett

    The RCH - first public hospital in Melbourne to open a Radiology department 1897

    1898

    A new Outpatients building opens in Drummond St.

    The hospital accepts its first female doctor - Mary Cowan.

    The RCH accepts its first female doctor - Mary Cowan 1898

    1900

    A 3 week long bazaar is held at the Exhibition Buildings to raise building funds for the hospital. New kitchens were built.

    The RCH - largest balance ever attained by any similar charitable venture 1900

    1902

    Dr. William Snowball is nominated as the first paediatric representative to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Melbourne.

    The first Honorary Dermatologist, Dr. A Finch Noyes, is appointed.

    Dr. William Snowball is nominated as the first paediatric representative of The RCH 1902

    1903

    New medical wards open in the "Princess May Pavilion" on the corner of Pelham and Drummond streets, and babies are admitted for the first time.

    New medical wards open at The RCH 1903

    1907

    The new three storey John Robertson nursing home opens in Rathdowne St.

    John Robertson nursing home opens in Rathdowne St

    1912

    Figure 1: A new administration block with medical staff accommodation opens in Pelham St. and the Pathology laboratory is rebuilt.

    Figure 2: The Redmond Barry building is demolished.

    New admin and medical staff accomofation open in Pelham St

    1914

    Figure 1: New surgical wards, "Edward Wilson Pavilion", opens.

    Figure 2: Dr. Reginald Webster is appointed as the first salaried Pathologist.

    New surgical ward. Dr Reginald Webster appointed as the first salaried Pathologist at The RCH

    1918

    Vegetables and fruit, which doctors previously believed children couldn't digest, are included in patients diet for the first time.

    Vegetables and fruit included in patients diet at The RCH

    1921

    The hospital opens the first babies ward in Melbourne. A special gymnasium and treatment room for Physiotherapy is provided.

    The Honorary Medical Staff sets up an Advisory Board for medical staff recruitment.

    First babies ward in Melbourne opens RCH

    1924

    The Auxiliaries provide a canteen for parents in the Outpatients Department.

    Auxiliaries provide a canteen for parents at The RCH

    1930

    A 100-bed orthopaedic campus is opened in Mt Eliza caring for children with tuberculosis, osteomyelitis and infantile paralysis.

    A 100-bed orthopaedic campus is opened in Mt Eliza

    1931

    The Good Friday Appeal is founded by the staff at the "Sporting Globe".

    Miss Isobel Hodge is appointed and a car donated for her use.

    The Good Friday Appeal is founded for The RCH

    1933

    Mrs.(later Lady) Ella Latham was elected president of the Committee of Management

    Ella Latham was elected president of the Committee of Management for The RCH

    1944

    Figure 1: Nine-year-old patient Allan Goates is the first patient to receive penicillin from his doctor Elizabeth Turner.

    Figure 2: Dr Elizabeth Turner appointed as first female Medical Superintendant.

    First patient to receive penicillin at The RCH

    1948

    10 acres in Royal Park is designated by the government as the site for the new Children's Hospital.

    10 acres in Royal Park is designated for The RCH

    1949

    Figure 1: 1948-1950. Chemotherapy used for the first time on leukemia patients, in the worlds first controlled trial of the drug by Dr John Colebatch.

    Figure 2: 1949 Dr. Vernon Collins is appointed as the first Medical Director.

    Chemotherapy used for the first at The RCH. Severe outbreak of Polio occurs

    1953

    The hospital received Royal Assent to change it's name to "Royal Children's Hospital", after seven years of lobbying by the hospitals dedicated committee.

    Hospital received Royal Assent to change it's name to The RCH

    1954

    Another severe outbreak of polio occurs. Later that year the Salk vaccine for polio becomes available in Australia.

    Salk vaccine for polio becomes available in Australia

    1957

    Channel 7 joins the Good Friday Appeal, televising the event as an all-day telethon.

    Channel 7 joins the Good Friday Appeal for The RCH

    1958

    The new Nurse's Home on the Parkville site opens with nurses commuting by a special bus to Carlton.

    The new Nurse's Home on the Parkville site opens for The RCH

    1962

    Figure 1: The first patients are transferred to the newly completed hospital at Parkville.

    Figure 2: Miss Joan Gendle is appointed Lady Superintendant of Nursing.

    Miss Joan Gendle is appointed Lady Superintendant of Nursing

    1963

    The Redmond Barry building is demolished.

    The Redmond Barry building is demolished

    1965

    Figure 1: Mrs Patricia McKinnon is elected President of the Committee of Management. Dr. L.E.G. Sloan is appointed Medical Director.

    Figure 2: The first dialysis machine

    First dialysis machine at The RCH

    1970

    The RCH celebrated 100 years.

    The hospitals neonatal unit discovers new treatment called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which saves the lives of hundreds of premature babies. A Handicapped Children's Centre is established.

    The RCH celebrated 100 years

    1973

    Rotavirus, the cause of a deadly form of severe gastroenteritis, discovered by Ruth Bishop.

    The Mt. Eliza orthopaedic Section closes after 41 years.

    The new North-West building at Parkville opens.

    Rotavirus isdiscovered by Ruth Bishop

    1975

    Conjoined twins (Foo) from Singapore are successfully separated (Peter Jones) followed by Melbourne conjoined twins Grant and Andrew Priestly (Nate Myers)

    Conjoined twins from Singapore are successfully separated by Peter Jones

    1977

    Ultrasound was introduced in 1977 after Radiologist Valerie Mayne secured funding to purchase the Australian made Octoson machine.

    Ultrasound was introduced at The RCH

    1984

    3 East Adolescent Ward established for patients over 14 years of age.

    3 East Adolescent Ward established

    1986

    The Murdoch institute is founded with a generous bequest from the Murdoch family.

    The Murdoch institute founded

    1987

    Final graduates from the last RCH School of Nursing

    Final graduates from the last RCH School of Nursing

    1988

    Michael Sofoulis undertakes the first heart transplant on a child.

    The Royal Children's Hospital Foundation (for fundraising) is established.

    First heart transplant on a child, Michael Sofoulis

    1994

    Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment was first used at The RCH in 1994.

    Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI) available at The RCH

    1995

    As part of an over all Victorian government strategy, The RCH and RWH merge as the "Women's and Children's Health Care Network"

    First liver transplant performed on 10-month-old Jordyn Griffin.

    The RCH and RWH merge

    2000

    The hospitals research institute and the Murdoch Institute merge to become the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI).

    Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) created through merger

    2005

    Funding announced for new hospital, to be constructed on a site neighbouring the current hospital.

    Funding announced for new hospital

    2006

    Children's Neuroscience Centre opened.

    A GP clinic is established near the Emergency Department.

    First Run for the Kids.

    First Run for the Kids

    2007

    The RCH Chairman Tony Beddison AO, Premier John Brumby and Minister for Health Daniel Andrews unveil plans for a new RCH building and turn the first soil on the new site in Flemington Road.

    Plans for a new RCH building unveiled by Minster for Health Daniel Andrews

    2008

    Children's Bioethics Centre opens.

    The RCH Immunisation Drop-in Centre officially opened in October.

    Professor Christine Kilpatrick appointed CEO, Children's Bioethics Centre and Immunisation Drop-in Centre open at The RCH

    2009

    The RCH team successfully separates conjoined twins Krishna and Trishna in 32 hour surgery

    Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) implemented nationally for the first time. (Pilot in 2004).

    Conjoined twins Krishna and Trishna sepreated in 32 hour surgery at The RCH

    2010

    The RCH awarded prestigious Committee for Melbourne, Melbourne Achiever Award, is awarded RSL ANZAC of the Year for their successful separation of conjoined twins Krishna and Trishna and becomes a member of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

    The RCH becomes a member of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

    2011

    The new RCH building is designed.

    New RCH building designed

    2012

    The new RCH building opens at 50 Flemington St, Parkville.

    New RCH building opens