RCH150 Anniversary Dinner: celebrating 150 years of care

On Thursday 26 May, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Foundation hosted the RCH150 Anniversary Dinner in recognition of this major milestone.

In 1870, Doctors William Smith and John Singleton had a vision “to help sick and injured children at no cost to families”. With the support of a volunteer ladies committee, they brought their vision to life. The Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children opened its doors on 9 September 1870 with just six beds. From these humble beginnings, the RCH has innovated and grown over the past 150 years to be one of the leading children’s hospitals in the world.

Over 500 guests came together at the Melbourne Town Hall to celebrate the rich history of the hospital and fundraise for its future.

We were honoured to have a number of wonderful guest speakers at the dinner, including Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria; Steve Dimopoulos MP, the State Member for Oakleigh, Parliamentary Secretary to The Premier and Parliamentary Secretary of Mental Health; Aunty Joy Murphy AO, Senior Wurundjeri Elder; Robyn Beddison OAM and Rupert McCall OAM.

We’re especially grateful to Kevin Lee and his son Tyler, as well as Akeira Somphanpanya for sharing their RCH stories with us, and for Akeira’s unforgettable performance with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir. Additionally, we were inspired by Bernadette McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, the RCH, who shared the exciting vision for the future of the hospital.

We were absolutely blown away by your support on the evening, and we’d like to acknowledge the Gandel Foundation, the Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation, Shelley Kline, Perry Sambor and the Live Life Foundation, the Loti and Victor Smorgon Family Foundation, Donald Ratcliffe and Phyllis Macleod Trust, as well as Phil and Susan Lewis and Kmart for their incredible pledges, and to everyone else who gave so generously on the evening.

Thanks to your incredible generosity, we are honoured to announce that $5,771,034 was raised at the RCH150 Anniversary Dinner.

These funds will make a remarkable difference right across the RCH, allowing clinicians to pioneer new initiatives in patient care, discover new treatments and cures for childhood illness and disease, and provide the latest equipment and technological advancements for our children. It will also help the hospital attract the world’s brightest medical minds, and provide ongoing education and training to them.

This magnificent evening would not have been possible without the wonderful RCH150 Anniversary Dinner Committee, led by co-chairs Robyn Beddison OAM and Peter Yates AM.

Finally, we would also like to acknowledge and thank our generous supporters, including Visionary Sponsors, The Beddison Foundation, Jayco, Schiavello Group and Downer, as well as Leadership Sponsors, Five Squared Property Group, Treasury Wines and Peter Jones Special Events. A special thanks also to our event MC Luke Darcy, and Associate Professor Sebastian King for leading the pledge sections.