To help celebrate the festive season, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) presents Rag Dolls to Woolly Dogs, an online photographic exhibition documenting Christmas at the hospital throughout the years. Since the hospital opened its doors in 1870, the RCH has been visited by Father Christmas, Rudolf, clowns, musicians, and even acrobats; who visit to delight and entertain children and families at such a special time of year.

“…Christmas is very near, and we want to be sure that Father Christmas will have his hands quite full when he reaches The Children’s Hospital. We have all kinds of boys and girls, and little babies on our wards, and already they are talking about what they would like. The girls, of course, mostly want dolls – they always do, I think. The wee ones like soft rag dolls and coloured balls. As for the boys, their wants vary from a ‘big gun’ to a ‘woolly dog.’ Coloured balloons are an endless source of delight to all ages…”

Matron Grace Wilson writing to the editor of The Age, 12 December, 1921 as cited in Peter Yule’s, The Royal Children’s Hospital: A History of Faith, Science and Love, pg. 588, 1999.

Thank you to the many generous people that help make Christmas magical for the families that can’t be at home, including The Once a Year Club, Uncle Bobs Club, Volunteers, Auxiliaries, and of course the hospital’s staff and broader community.