Royal Children's Hospital

Coordinates: 37°47′42″S 144°56′59″E / 37.79500°S 144.94972°E / -37.79500; 144.94972
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Royal Children's Hospital
LocationMelbourne, Victoria, Australia[1]
Coordinates37°47′42″S 144°56′59″E / 37.79500°S 144.94972°E / -37.79500; 144.94972
Care systemMedicare
Affiliated universityUniversity of Melbourne and Murdoch Children's Research Institute
SpecialityChildren's hospital
Helipad(ICAO: YRHO)
Number Length Surface
ft m
1 aluminium
2 aluminium
3 aluminium
Opened1870 (founding)
2011 (present site)

The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH), colloquially referred to as the Royal Children’s, is a major children's hospital in Parkville, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Regarded as one of the great children’s hospitals globally, the hospital and its facilities are internationally recognised as a “leading centre for paediatrics”.[3] The hospital serves the entire states of Victoria, and Tasmania, as well as southern New South Wales and parts of South Australia.

As a major specialist paediatric hospital in Victoria, the Royal Children's Hospital provides a full range of clinical services, tertiary care, as well as health promotion and prevention programs for children and young people.[4]

The hospital is the designated statewide major trauma centre for paediatrics in Victoria and a Nationally Funded Centre for cardiac and liver transplantation.

Its campus partners are the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and The University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, which are based onsite at the hospital.

The hospital is surrounded by the parkland of Royal Park, with views of trees and much natural light.


Aerial panorama of Royal Park and the Children's Hospital. The Melbourne skyline sits on the left of the horizon.

The hospital was established in 1870[5] and moved to the corner of Flemington Road and Gatehouse Street in Parkville in 1963.

The Royal Children's Hospital as seen from Royal Park Melbourne

The Royal Children's Hospital was founded by Doctors John Singleton and William Smith, in response to their serious concerns about infant mortality in the fledgling city of Melbourne. The original "Free Hospital for Sick Children" was set up in a small house at 39 Stephen Street (now 49 Exhibition Street) and treated more than 1,000 children in its first year of operation.[6]

In 2005, the Victoria State Government announced plans to build a brand new 340 bed home for RCH adjacent to the existing site.[7] The winning bid of the redevelopment was led by Babcock & Brown with architects Billard Leece Partnership and Bates Smart Architects. HKS Inc. Architects of Dallas, Texas provided Pediatric Design and Planning Services and consulting engineers Norman Disney & Young. Work commenced on the site in late 2007, and was completed in late 2011, opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her Royal Tour.[8] Patients were moved into the new hospital in November 2011.[9] The project won the 2012 Melbourne Prize and the Victorian Architecture Medal.

After the move to new facility, demolition of the old site was completed by December 2012. Much of the old site was turned back into parkland, creating a new gateway to Royal Park.[10] Landscaping of the park was complete by 2015.

Good Friday Appeal[edit]

The Good Friday Appeal is held annually to raise money for the hospital. It has been broadcast on the Seven TV network for 52 years. The goal of the Appeal is to ensure that children with life-threatening illnesses receive the best possible medical and clinical care.[11]

The 2009 Appeal raised $13,862,734.[12] The 2010 Appeal raised $14,462,000.[13] The 2011 Appeal raised $15,156,000. The 2012 Appeal raised $15,820,640. The 2013 appeal raised $16,405,534.65.[14] The 2016 Appeal, raised $17,445,624.[15] The 2017 Appeal, raised $17,605,662.[16]

A new record was set in 2018, with the appeal raising $18,043,251.[17]

Centre for Adolescent Health, Gender Service[edit]

The RCH Centre for Adolescent Health, Gender Service provides a multidisciplinary approach to the assessment, care and treatment of gender dysphoria[18] for children aged 3 to 17 years.[19][20] In 2003 it received 1 referral,[21] increasing to 7 referrals in 2007. In 2015 it was expected that there would be more than 150 referrals, with a one-year waiting list. The Andrews government said it will spend an extra $6 million over four years to reduce waiting times.[22][23] During 2016 the gender clinic is expecting to receive at least 250 referrals.[24]

RCH awards[edit]

Elizabeth Turner medal[edit]

Each year since 2002, the Elizabeth Turner Medal has been awarded to senior medical or dental practitioners at the RCH who have consistently shown excellence in clinical care over an extended period of time. It is the highest honour of peer recognition at the hospital.[25]

The medal was named in honour of Elizabeth Kathleen Turner AO (1914-1999) who was a Peadiatrician at the hospital from 1942 until 1980, and was the Medical Superintendent from 1943 until 1946. She was the first doctor in Australia to administer penicillin. The medal was named in her honour to acknowledge her devotion to the care of her patients.[25]

Past recipients of the award include plastic surgeon Tony Holmes in 2004, and neurosurgeon Wirginia Maixner in 2023.[25]

Barnes-Hutson medal[edit]

On the 150th anniversary of the hospital the medical staff association established the Barnes-Hutson medal to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the fabric of the hospital.[25]

The medal is named in honour of Graeme Barnes (Gastroenterology) and John Hutson (General Surgery and Urology) in acknowledgment of their all-round contribution to clinical practice, research, education, and mentorship.[25]

The inaugural award was presented to Gastroenterologist Winita Hardikar in 2021, Community paediatrician Jill Sewell received the award in 2022, and Gastroenterologist Prof Julie Bines received the award in 2023.[25]


Coat of arms of Royal Children's Hospital
Granted 5 May 1966
On a wreath Argent Gules and Azure on water barry wavy Argent and Azure an Australian Pelican naiant Proper.
Per chevron Argent and Azure in chief two Rods of Aesculapius erect Proper the serpents respectant Vert in base a representation of the Constellation of the Southern Cross with five mullets Argent on a chief Gules a lion passant Or.
On the dexter side a boy Proper vested in a short tunic Argent edged at the neck and sleeves and pendent from a cincture a purse Or shoes Vert and on the sinister side a girl Proper vested in a long sleeveless dress edged at the neck and hem and cinctured Or shoes Vert.
Fide Scientia Et Amore[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Royal Children's Hospital : The Royal Children's Hospital".
  2. ^ "Trove".
  3. ^ "The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne". Victorian Agency for Health Information. Retrieved 18 July 2023.
  4. ^ "The Royal Children's Hospital : About The Royal Children's Hospital". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne Vic. (1870-) - People and organisations". Trove. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Dr John Singleton 1808-1891 : Christian, doctor, philanthropist / Roslyn Otzen. - Version details - Trove". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne Vic. (1870-) - People and organisations". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  8. ^ "The Queen officially opens the new Royal Children's Hospital | RCH News". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Patients ready to move into the brand new Royal Children's Hospital | RCH News". 29 November 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ [2] Good Friday Appeal > About Us at the Wayback Machine (archived May 4, 2009)
  12. ^ "Good Friday Appeal". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  13. ^ Lillebuen, Steve (3 April 2010). "Vic Good Friday Appeal sets new record". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  14. ^ Victorians raise $16.4m for the kids as part of Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal, Brigid O'Connell, March 30, 2013, Herald Sun
  15. ^ "Good Friday Appeal telecast to air this Friday". NewsComAu. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Thank you! Together we raised $17, 605, 662 - Good Friday Appeal". Good Friday Appeal. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Good Friday Appeal raises a record $18,043,251 | RCH News". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  18. ^ "RCH Gender Dysphoria Service | Centre for Adolescent Health". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  19. ^ Wade, Matthew (21 April 2016). "Victorian government will spend 15 million in state budget to create first ever pride centre". Star Observer. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  20. ^ Devine, Miranda (27 April 2016). "Transgenderism: Has anybody seen my girl?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  21. ^ Stark, Jill (6 July 2014). "Calls to help sex-change kids as demand for gender reassignment soars". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  22. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (31 May 2015). "Royal Children's Hospital transgender unit gets $6m boost to cut waiting list". The Age. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  23. ^ Davey, Melissa (1 June 2015). "Transgender unit at Melbourne's Royal Children's hospital gets $6m boost". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  24. ^ Taylor, Josie (5 July 2016). "Chief Justice vows change to 'traumatic' court process for transgender children". ABC News. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  25. ^ a b c d e f "Awards and Scholarships". The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne. n.d. Retrieved 15 March 2024.
  26. ^ "Royal Children's Hospital". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 30 April 2022.

External links[edit]