In 1922, Mary Guthrie founded The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Auxiliary movement. The formative years of the Auxiliaries saw the various groups support the hospital mainly through sewing articles of clothing and donating goods such as soap and eggs.

The Auxiliaries, mainly populated by female members, saw a change in numbers during the 1970s as women increasingly entered the workforce. In addition, the need for sewing and donations of goods declined. Auxiliary groups decided to re-focus and began concentrating on specific causes, such as the Leukaemia Auxiliary, Oesophageal Atresia Research Auxiliary, Heart Kids, Cancer in Kids, and many others. These Auxiliaries often drew support from families of children with these conditions to expand their support base. The Auxiliaries also ran the hospital canteen, opportunity shops in Clifton Hill and Fitzroy, and the hospital kiosk.

Since their formation in 1922, the Auxiliaries have raised millions of dollars for the RCH and continue their tireless efforts today.

This online exhibition is a selection of black and white photographs that showcase the two main services managed by the Auxiliaries within the old Parkville hospital: the canteen and the kiosk. Serving up malted milkshakes and hot meals to staff and visitors, the canteen offered a place to refuel, catch up and have a break. The canteen no longer exists today but these images highlight the dedication of the ladies serving up refreshments in their purple jackets. The kiosk started as a basic service offering children’s pyjamas and essentials for a stay in hospital; today the shop is called The Gratitude Hub and offers a wide variety of products.