The hospital we built

Share history. Innovate today. Transform tomorrow.

For 150 years, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) has provided world-leading care to Victoria’s sickest and most vulnerable children and young people.

Founding doctors, William Smith and John Singleton, had a vision “to help sick and injured children at no cost to families”. With the help 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 rooms.

The story of how the RCH has grown from such humble beginnings to become one of the world’s great hospitals for children is as impressive as it is unique. It’s a story of visionary people dedicated to building something extraordinary.

A story of thousands of heroes (celebrated and unknown) whose tenacity and commitment – as medical innovators, nurses, volunteers, educators, researchers, philanthropists, fundraisers, administrators and supporters – has created a much-loved institution with a place in the heart of all Victorians.

Images in our timelines are courtesy of The Royal Children’s Hospital Archives Department.​