The Royal Children Hospital, Melbourne: 150 years of caring

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In 1870 the Melbourne Hospital for Sick Children was founded by Drs William Smith and John Singleton. They were motivated by the high death rate of young children in Victoria—higher even than London’s at the time. Mrs Frances Perry, wife of the first Anglican Bishop of Melbourne, was elected as the first president of a ladies’ committee of management. The University of Melbourne’s teaching connection with the hospital began formally in 1879, when the hospital began offering medical students access to its wards.

The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne: 150 years of caring exhibition explores the roles of important individuals, turning points, and changing responses to community needs. The hospital’s history—from its earliest days in a modest city house, to its internationally recognised achievements on the extensive campus of today.  Importantly, the stories and expertise of the traditional owners are acknowledged, through artworks commissioned by the hospital for its 150th anniversary.

Planned originally for 2020 but, like many of the Hospital’s own 150th anniversary celebrations, postponed due to the pandemic, the MDHS Faculty commemorates its long and valuable relationship with the RCH with this historical exhibition. Featuring  highlights from items in the RCH archive and collections department, the AMA collection held in the Medical History Museum and material from the State Library.