One hundred and fifty years ago the inaugural Committee of Management voted to establish the first hospital in Victoria dedicated to providing free healthcare for children. The Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children opened with just six beds and a government grant of £50. These humble beginnings set in motion 150 years of caring for the children of Victoria, Australia and beyond. Today, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) is a major specialist paediatric hospital with 350 beds. Read more about the founding years here.

The story of the RCH is the story of thousands of heart-warming moments that our hospital has contributed to each and every year since September 1870. Our milestone is an opportunity to celebrate that story, with an eye to what’s ahead.

The Archives and Collections team has produced this online exhibition to highlight 150 years of festivities and celebrations at the RCH.

As an organisation, we encourage staff, patients and families to celebrate all of our victories, large and small – it all matters. This exhibition explores how we celebrate these wins and milestones by going above and beyond to create fun, laughter and a sense of community within the hospital.

We are living in challenging and uncertain times as we reflect on 150 years of great care. We hope these photographs are a reminder that happy and joyful times are never too far away.

It also appears that the RCH has always known how to throw a great party… Happy Birthday RCH!