Founding doctors, William Smith and John Singleton, had a vision ‘to help sick and injured children at no cost to families’. With the volunteer help of a committee of society women, they brought their vision to life.

The Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children opened its doors on 9 September, 1870, with just six rooms. The hospital occupied a rented, two-storey, brick building, located at 39 Stephen Street South (now 49 Exhibition St). The Stephen Street premise was only intended to be temporary until a larger premise could be secured, however this was much easier said than done. Eventually, in 1873, the newly established hospital moved to a slightly larger rented house located at 13 Spring St.

The hospital operated out of Spring Street until 1875 when Judge Redmond Barry offered to sell his house and land in Carlton for £10,000. The hospital brought Barry’s house and land, and the hospital settled into its first permanent home.