RCH150 Timeline: 1920

1921: First babies ward in Melbourne opens

The hospital opens the first babies ward in Melbourne with a special gymnasium and treatment room for physiotherapy. The babies ward was deemed necessary because of the issue of milk refrigeration causing the poor to drink filthy milk, which was causing outbreaks of summer diarrhoea. The opening of the babies ward saved many lives of those suffering from the condition.

Rooftop of the Babies Ward (Ward 14), 1922
The Children’s Hospital; Carlton, Victoria
Gelatin silver photograph

1922: Mary Guthrie appointed as first Auxiliaries president

In 1922, Miss Mary Guthrie raised concerns with the Hospital Committee of Management about the financial capacity of the hospital to continue to deliver the services needed within the budget they had been allocated from the Government. As a solution, Miss Guthrie formed the Auxiliary movement to fundraise for and supply articles to the hospital. To establish this, Members of the Committee of Management were encouraged to invite women from their local community to a meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall. From here, 10 Auxiliaries were formed, along with an Executive Council. In their first year, Auxiliaries saved the hospital more than £1,914. By the end of the decade, another 12 Auxiliaries had formed, supporting the establishment of a canteen in the outpatients department, supplying bed linen and garments along with fundraising to extend the babies ward.