– 150 years of history at The Royal Children’s Hospital –

A concise, comprehensive and chronological record of the rich and diverse 150-year history of The Royal Children’s Hospital.
Please feel free to scroll through all 150 years or easily filter information via categories or tags.

Do you think an achievement, person or event is missing? Please send your suggestion to: archives@rch.org.au. We hope you enjoy exploring!

1870
The Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children Established
September 9th, 1870
Dr William John Smith and Dr John Singleton opened the hospital in a six-bedroom house located at 39 Stephen Street.
Committee of Management Established
September 9th, 1870
The committee was run and populated predominantly by women until 1940.
Image credit: PROV, VA 1239 The Royal Children’s Hospital, VPRS 16796/P1 Minutes of the Committee of Management (1870-1992), Unit 1 (Minutes 1870 -1872). Digitised copy.
First Attending Surgeon
September 9th, 1870
Hospital founder Dr Smith took on the role of attending surgeon.
First Attending Physician
September 9th, 1870
Hospital founder Dr Singleton took on the role of attending physician.
Frances Perry
Perry, wife of the Anglican Bishop of Melbourne, was elected as the first president of the Committee of Management.
First Honorary Physicians and Surgeons
September 9th, 1870
In addition to Dr William John Smith and Dr John Singleton, Dr Motherwell was named honorary consulting physician and Professor Halford, honorary consulting surgeon.
First Nurse for Inpatients
Mrs Bail was the first nurse employed by the hospital. She remained on staff at the hospital until 1878.
First Inpatients
December 1870
Six cots were established for the initial intake of inpatients.
First Pharmacist
Robert Singleton, son of Dr John Singleton, ran the medicine dispensary.
Image details: First known photo of the hospital's pharmacy, circa 1917.
1871
Dr John Singleton Resigns
Due to ideological differences, Dr John Singleton withdrew from his hospital commitments.