– 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: archives@rch.org.au. We hope you enjoy exploring!

Showing Events Tagged with: 1980-1989

Reorganisation of Hospital into a Divisional Structure
The hospital took steps to meet accreditation criteria and clarify the administrative structure.
Dr Barry Catchlove AM
Appointed as CEO in 1981, Catchlove made a great many structural and staffing changes. He held the position until 1991.
First Male President of the Hospital Committee
Ken Keown was elected as president of the hospital Board of Management, ending the long history of a woman-led management committee.
Interpreter Services Established
Silvio Proy became the hospital’s first formal medical interpreter in 1971. Interpreter Services became its own department in 1982 and Proy established standards and training for professional interpreters. Prior to this, volunteer services had been heavily relied on to interpret for families.
Educational Resource Centre
Led by Lynda Stephens, photographers, film makers, designers and illustrators began a program of creating educational and entertaining content used by the hospital and clinics state-wide.
First Aboriginal Liaison Officer
Ruby Lako was the first person to be appointed to this new role, funded by the Health Commission. It was a difficult position – the indigenous status of patients was not recorded by the hospital at the time.
Professor Peter Phelan AM
Phelan was installed as professor of paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. Revision of the paediatric curriculum allowed increased specialisation in paediatrics.
Medicare Introduced
Hawke government legislation reinstated universal health care.
Establishment of the Adolescent Ward
This allowed children over age 14 to receive treatment at the hospital.
Speech Pathology
Speech pathology became a stand-alone department, with Bronwyn Parry-Fielder in the lead role, which she held for 22 years.
Victorian Nurses’ Strike
The hospital’s paediatric nurses are among the few statewide who remained ‘on the job’.
Foundation of the Murdoch Institute for Research into Birth Defects
The Murdoch Institute was a leading centre for genetics research, worldwide.
Gatehouse Centre Established
Originally named the Child Protection Unit, the department’s focus is on children suffering from abuse and maltreatment.
End of Hospital-run Nurse Training
Last students graduated from the school of nursing run by the hospital.
Murdoch Institute launched POSSUM
Developed by the hospital’s staff, including Professor David Danks AO, Dr Agnes Bankier OAM and Dr David Pitt, POSSUM was designed to record and identify birth defect syndromes.
RCH Medical Alumni Association Established
The group is membered by medical and dental professionals who have spent time working at the RCH.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation Established
The RCH Foundation's first fundraising project was a special building appeal.
Image credit: Alvin Aquino
First Heart Transplant at the RCH
October 5th, 1988
Chief Cardiac Surgeon Mr Roger Mee AO performed the operation, with the support of a talented cardiac team.