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

Key points

  • The Archives of the Royal Melbourne Hospital document the traditions and history of the hospital - the oldest public hospital in Victoria
  • The Archives serve as the hospital’s corporate memory by preserving its cultural heritage and unique identity 
  • Information about how to make a donation or access various records
A ward decorated for Christmas circa 1920
A ward decorated for Christmas, dated in the 1920s.

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

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;

  • 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
  • Providing research services

Donations to the collection

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

The archival collection continues to grow in part thanks to donations from the wider hospital community. Another avenue for growth 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.

Archives or Art Donation (115KB - pdf document)
Melbourne Hospital Birthday League card
A Melbourne Hospital Birthday League card for Miss Rae Wright from 1939.

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 laws and regulations. Some records may be closed to the public.

Fees for research or photographs

The RMH 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 search for records, 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. 

Copyright

The RMH 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”.

Melbourne Hospital Certificate of Service from 1858 for William Garrard
A Certificate of Service from 1858 from the Melbourne Hospital for William Garrard.
Text of Certificate of Service for William Garrard

Access to patient medical records

Access to patient medical records is restricted. 

Patient medical records from 1856-1910 have been sent to the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) as Series Number VPRS 12477. Indices to these records are held within the RMH Archives. Please complete the enquiry form for information about medical records up to 1910. 

Please note that the RMH Archives does not control or have access to any patient medical records after 1910. 

Enquiries to access patient medical records after 1910 should made through the hospital’s Freedom of Information service. Note that some patient medical records from 1908-74 may also be held at the PROV as:

  • Series Number: VPRS 10234 for records from 1908 - 1932 
  • Series Number: VPRS 10060 for records from 1926 – 1974

Incomplete patient admittance registers 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 - have also been sent to the PROV as Series Number VPRS 18933. Indices to these records are held within the RMH Archives.

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 RMH 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.

The RMH archives enquiry form

Use this form to contact the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) Archives to obtain historical information.

Find out more
Contact us
Archives Office
Address
The RMH Royal Park
Level 1 Building 1
34-54 Poplar Rd, Parkville, Victoria
Need access to patient medical records?

The RMH Archives cannot provide patient medical records after 1910.

Health providers seeking patient information for continuing care may be able to access patient information via My Health Record, Health Hub, or by contacting Health Information Services at the RMH.