– 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: email@example.com. We hope you enjoy exploring!
Showing Events Tagged with: 1950-1959
Influx of Immigrant Families After the War
Late 1940s – early 1950s
Many children arriving from Europe with their families were suffering poor health from the journey and long-term malnutrition during the war. The hospital responded as best as it could, often relying on maids as interpreters.
Kruger became the first interpreter on staff at the hospital. She had fluent command of five languages.
First Attempt to Separate Conjoined Twins
Neurosurgeon Mr Reginald Hooper conducted surgery on twin girls joined at the head. Sadly, the operation was unsuccessful.
First Male Trainee Nurse
Approved as a training school for male nurses in 1946, it wasn’t until 1952 that the nursing school received an application from a man.
Staff System Reform
Honorary staff positions were symbolically re-named senior medical staff. Staffing reform meant the hospital was able to attract talented new staff.
Child Psychology Department Established
Led by Ruth Wertheim and John Williams.
Mr Peter Jones
Jones began a long surgical career at the hospital. He was a prolific researcher, publisher and regarded as a wonderful teacher. In 1970 he became chairman of the senior medical staff. He also designed the coat of arms for the hospital.
Royal Assent Granted
After seven years of lobbying from the Committee of Management, royal assent is granted. The hospital is officially re-named ‘The Royal Children’s Hospital’ (RCH).
Daily Visiting Allowances Introduced
Ward subdivisions made way for liberalisation of visiting rules and in his role as medical director, Professor Vernon Collins CBE introduced daily visiting allowances.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC, DBE
A member of the Committee of Management since 1933, Dame Elisabeth was President from 1954-1965. Her commitment and vision saw many improvements for the hospital, including the move to new premises in Parkville. In 1986 she became a co-founder of the Murdoch Institute for Research into Birth Defects.
Medical Records Department Established
Dr Harry Hiller
Appointed director of radiology, Hiller introduced many improvements in the way of equipment and techniques.
Dr Winston Rickards AM
Appointed as the first director of psychiatry, Rickards developed a multi-disciplinary approach to child mental health and his research achieved many breakthroughs.
Burns Unit Established
Dr A Murray Clarke led the establishment in response to the high occurrence-rate of patients admitted with burns.
Television Broadcasting in Australia Commenced
September 16th, 1956
Australian broadcasting began and television sets were placed in the wards for the patients’ entertainment.
Development of a Postgraduate Course in Paediatric Nursing
Beginning of Work on the Main Block for the New Parkville Hospital
Image credit: Laurie Richards Studio
The Committee of Management Introduced Provisions and Scholarships to Encourage Research
A New Nurses’ Home
The first building to be completed on the new Parkville lot - nurses were shuttled back and forth to the Carlton hospital.
Image credit: Laurie Richards Studio