The Archives of the Royal Melbourne Hospital document the traditions and history of the hospital - the oldest public hospital in Victoria. 

Melbourne Hospital Certificate of Service from 1858
Melbourne Hospital Certificate of Service from 1858

Our archives serve as the hospital’s corporate memory by preserving the hospital’s cultural heritage and unique identity. Our records document the policy and the decision making process of the hospital at the highest level and are reflections of the political, social and cultural forces shaping the hospital’s history.

The role of the Archives is to support the various business, educational, research and patient care activities of the hospital, including its administrative requirements; educating staff and students on the traditions of the hospital; providing a sense of identity to the hospital community; support for public affairs, fundraising and community engagement campaigns; and providing research services.

What records do the Archives hold?

The Royal Melbourne Hospital is a public hospital and a part of the Melbourne Health. The Archives collects records relating to The Royal Melbourne Hospital (Melbourne Hospital prior to 1935), Melbourne Health, NorthWestern Mental Health, and the Royal Melbourne Hospital - Royal Park Campus (the former Mount Royal Hospital). Some records of the now defunct Essendon and District Memorial Hospital are also held.

Our major holdings include:

  • Minutes and papers of the Board of Management and Committees of the Hospital and Network
  • Correspondence of the Chief Executive Officer
  • Annual Reports
  • Senior Medical Staff Minutes
  • Plans, specifications and correspondence re the building of the Parkville site
  • Minutes, news-cuttings and Annual Reports of Hospital Auxiliaries
  • Papers, reports, brochures re the history of nursing and nurse education
  • News-cuttings and publicity material related to the Hospital
  • Minutes of Hospital related Medical Research foundations
  • Reports and correspondence of Hospital departments
  • Photographs of staff, services and departments of the Hospital
  • Medical/Surgical instruments and equipment and Hospital memorabilia
  • Oral histories of ex-staff members
  • Essendon and District Memorial Hospital Minutes of Board Committees and Annual Reports
  • Minutes, Annual Reports and some patient admittance records for The Royal Melbourne Hospital - Royal Park Campus, including its predecessors, namely: Immigrants' Aid Society, Victorian Homes for Aged and Infirm, Mount Royal Hospital, North West Hospital, and MECRS - Melbourne Extended Care and Rehabilitation Service

Donations to the Collection

Melbourne Hospital Birthday League certificate 1939
Melbourne Hospital Birthday League certificate 1939

Donations to the archival collection from past and present staff, students and patients are welcome.

Donations received from the wider hospital community are one method by which the collection continues to grow. Another avenue is through acquisitions and transfers of records from hospital departments during the day-to-day running of the hospital. All donated items are uniquely numbered so that the origin of the item is identified for researchers or future generations.

Download the archive donations form.

Visiting the Archives

Access to the Archives is by appointment only. Advance notice of visit is required. An Access Agreement must be signed at the time of initial visit. Access is determined in accordance with government legislation and guidelines, including the Victorian Public Records Act 1973 and Privacy. Some records may be closed to the public.

Fees for research or photographs

The Royal Melbourne Hospital is a public hospital. Fees are levied for the use or provision of information from our archives. User fees contribute towards the cost of housing and maintaining our unique historical collection, and to the provision of sustainable archives services.

  • research fees for staff to undertake research or supply archival material for research purposes are $55.00 per hour which includes GST. Pro-rata charges will be applied.
  • image reproduction fees for the supply of photographic images are:
    • $30.00 minimum charge for first scan or print, includes GST
    • $20.00 for each subsequent scan or print, includes GST
  • license fees for the use of photos for publication or commercial purposes are $100.00 per image per use (includes GST) 

Note that the quality of digital copies will vary depending on the original image. Melbourne Health retains such copyright as it may have in the original images. Images reproduced or displayed must acknowledge the source as “The Royal Melbourne Hospital Archives”. 

Access to patient medical records 

Access to patient medical records is restricted. While patient medical records from the 1856 - 1910 are controlled by the Archives, some original volumes of patient records from this period have been sent to the Public Record Office Victoria. Indices to these records are held within the RMH Archives. Please note that RMH Archives does not control or have access to any patient medical records after 1910. To access patient medical records up to 1910, please complete the enquiry form below.

All enquires to access patient medical records after 1910, must be made through the hospital’s Freedom of Information. Note that some patient medical records from 1908 - 1974 may also be held at the PROV as Series Number: VPRS 10234 for records from 1908 - 1932 and VPRS 10060 for records from 1926 – 1974, see the Public Record Office Victoria website. For access to patient medical records after 1910, please contact our FOI Officer.

Incomplete patient admittance registers are also held for the predecessor institutions to the RMH’s Royal Park Campus, including the Immigrants’ Aid Society, Victorian Homes for Aged and Infirm and Mount Royal Hospital. Note that these records only contain the dates of admittance and discharge and do not contain medical information, information regarding next of kin, or why a person was admitted. To access these admittance records, please complete the enquiry form below.

Make an enquiry

You can request information from the Royal Melbourne Hospital Archives. Note that there is no guarantee that what you are looking for will be found, however fees will still be charged for undertaking searches. If it is unlikely that what you are looking for is in our archives, you will be contacted before we start any work.

Make an archives enquiry

All enquiries to access patient medical records after 1910 must be made via our FOI Officer.

Downloads

Contact us if you need an accessible version of a download.

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