The Uncle Bobs Club was founded in 1942, when Alf Clark, who had recently visited a patient of The Children’s Orthopaedic Hospital, was inspired to encourage his friends to each commit to donating one shilling (a ‘bob’) to the hospital. Alf Clark, Ray Fisher, Jock McAdam, and Clarrie Williams established the club and from these four founders, the club grew rapidly. By the end of 1943, subscriptions had grown to 379. The club continued to expand, and in the early 1950s country branches were formed. Today, the Uncle Bobs Club’s diverse range of members continue to support The Royal Children’s Hospital.

The Uncle Bobs Club online exhibition showcases photographs that capture the club’s engagement with the hospital. Scenes of fundraising efforts and opening ceremonies for facilities funded by the club are shown alongside moments from the legendary Uncle Bobs Christmas party, which was also supported by the Melbourne and Frankston Fire Brigade and entertainer Jenny Howard.

Opening of The Uncle Bobs Club Nurses’ Home at The Children’s Hospital Orthopaedic Section, Frankston, 1948 [2018.2491]
In 1948, funds raised by the Uncle Bobs Club were used to build a Nurses’ Home at the Orthopaedic Hospital. The official opening was honoured by the presence of Lady Dugan, alongside hospital committee president Lady Latham and president of The Uncle Bobs Club, Mr J. Kirkwood. This event was captured on the short film above. Hand-held and candid footage provides a glimpse of fashions and nursing uniforms of the time, and carefully composed interior and exterior scenes showcase the home’s serene and sunny seaside surroundings. (2.54 minutes)