The Royal Melbourne Hospital was Victoria's first public hospital and celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2023.

Key points

  • The RMH celebrated our 175th anniversary in 2023
  • The RMH is Victoria’s first public hospital and has touched the lives of millions of Victorians
  • We have grown from a two-storey cottage to a service spanning multiple sites providing acute, subacute, aged and mental health care
Aerial view of the RMH during Second World War
Aerial view looking north of the Royal Melbourne Hospital showing the buildings during Second World War. Also shows the Haymarket, University of Melbourne, Royal Parade and Parkville.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) is Victoria’s first public hospital and has touched the lives of millions of Victorians, providing care and treatment to our community as it grown from a colonial town to a major city.​

In 2023, the RMH celebrated a major milestone – our 175th anniversary.

While many aspects of health care, technology and research have changed over 175 years, one thing has not: our dedication to providing the best care to our community.

That is reflected in our promise to our community: Always there when it matters most.

First Nightingale trained Lady Superintendent at the Melbourne Hospital
1920s ward scene of medical nurses by male patients' bedside
Workers and guests at the laying of Foundation Stone at Parkville 1941
Social worker talking to patient in traction circa 1953
Staff in the ICU
Clinical assistant pushing wheelchair
Patient and nurse on Ward 8B during COVID
Dated 1890. The first Nightingale trained Lady Superintendent at the Melbourne Hospital was Miss Isabella Rathie, pictured with her nursing staff. Before 1890, nursing standards were varied and what training did occur was rudimentary. This changed with Rathie's appointment. She instituted the first formal teaching program in anatomy and surgery, physiology and medicine, and general instruction on practical nursing.1/7

The Melbourne Hospital - we became "Royal" by Royal Charter in 1935 - opened its doors to the public on 15 March 1848. We began as a 10-bed, two-storey cottage on the corner of Lonsdale and Swanston Streets, and treated 89 inpatients and 98 outpatients in our first year.

In 2021-22, we cared for 105,246 inpatient admission, 83,635 Emergency Department presentations and performed 18,640 emergency and elective surgeries.

The RMH encompasses our sites at the RMH Parkville and the RMH Royal Park, as well as residential aged care and mental health sites across inner and western Melbourne. Across the service there are 1084 beds for inpatient, RMH@Home, residential aged care and mental health services.

Our milestone 175th year was an eventful one that also saw the opening of the RMH's newest site, the RMH Elizabeth St.

We are proud to be a part of Victoria's rich history and to continue serving the Victorian community for years to come.