– 150 years of history at The Royal Children’s Hospital –
A concise and chronological record of the rich and diverse 150-year history of The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).
Please feel free to scroll through all 150 years or easily filter information via categories or tags.
The historical images have been sourced from the RCH Archives and Collections, unless stated otherwise.
Images have been chosen to illustrate the subject matter and may not necessarily reflect the date of the event.
The RCH has produced such an immense amount of groundbreaking achievements and we cannot assume to have captured them all here.
Do you think an achievement, person, or event is missing? Please send your suggestion to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy exploring!
Showing Events Tagged with: 1920-1929
Matron Grace Wilson
Appointed as matron, Wilson was a great advocate for the improvement of working conditions for nurses.
League of Former Trainees and Associates (LOFT) Established
LOFT supports an annual scholarship for nursing research and provides a platform for members to maintain relationships and connections with the hospital.
First Babies’ Ward in Melbourne Opened
A public appeal was held in 1919 to raise funds to build a specialised ward for babies.
Discovery of Insulin
Discovered in Canada, insulin has saved lives worldwide.
Nurse Ivy Silverthorne Flower
Flower began nurse training in 1921, became a staff nurse in 1924 and was appointed deputy matron in 1934. She remained involved with the hospital until 1962.
First Auxiliaries Meetings Held
Committee members from Kew, Essendon, Toorak, Black Rock, St Kilda and Malvern orchestrated the first meetings.
Dr Robert Southby OBE
Beginning as a junior resident, Southby became medical superintendent in 1924. He became lecturer in paediatrics in 1948 and remained involved in paediatrics until his death in 1991.
Matron Hilda Walsh
Appointed as matron, Walsh maintained efficiency and order on the wards. Due to retire in 1940, she stayed until 1947 because of the war.
As committee president, Mackinnon was responsible for guiding the hospital through the Depression.
Dr Howard Boyd Graham
Appointed to the first medical superintendent role, Dr Graham was interested in the relation between poverty and child health.
Dame Kate Campbell DBE
Though Campbell resigned in 1924 for a role with more responsibilities at The Royal Women’s Hospital, the time she spent with children at the hospital solidified her interest in paediatrics and she became an enormously respected practitioner in the field.
A ‘Changing of the Guard’
The resignation of many stalwart committee members saw a new and fresh outlook for the hospital.
Dame Jean Macnamara DBE
Macnamara was a great advocate for the benefits of physiotherapy. In 1928, she became the first woman to hold full honorary rank. She stayed with the hospital until 1959.
Dr Douglas Galbraith
Dr Galbraith was appointed physician to outpatients and involved with the hospital until 1960. He believed in the importance of holistic care for children, addressing their social, as well as their physical, rehabilitation.
Polio Serum Trials
First use of human immune serum delivered in the pre-paralytic stage of polio. Research into the serum saw its use discontinued.
Heliotherapy Introduced to Australia
Doctors who had worked in Europe during the war brought the concept of heliotherapy to Australia. Mr Wilfred Kent Hughes was a particularly strong advocate for the treatment style and a heliotherapy ward was opened at the Hampton Convalescent Home.
Beachleigh House Purchased
Originally built as a family home, the house became nurses’ accommodation, and the hospital built The Children's Orthopaedic Hospital on the adjoining land.
Psychiatric Clinic Established
The Great Depression
August 1929 - March 1933
Widespread hardship led to a rise in demand for the hospital’s services and lessening of public contributions. The committee deferred requests for new equipment due to lack of financial resources.
Dr John Colquhoun
Appointed as the first medical superintendent at The Children's Orthopaedic Hospital, which was soon to be opened.