The origins of the RMH were simple...
... in early 1841, a group of community-minded citizens came together to give the people of a rapidly growing village access to critical medical treatment - housed in a humble cottage.
This was long before Victoria’s imposing Parliament House or the renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground was ever imagined. Only a decade after Melbourne was first settled, the hospital’s foundation stone was laid with much fanfare and a public procession on 20 March 1846. In contrast, there was little celebration when the hospital opened two years later.
The patients on this day numbered six: two inpatients and four outpatients.
All were male, with the first two female patients treated on 22 March 1848. As was the custom of the day, all were admitted upon the recommendation of a subscriber or financial benefactor to the hospital. During its first year, a total of 89 inpatients and 98 outpatients were treated.
The hospital continues to this day as one of Victoria’s oldest public institutions, predating The University of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria, both founded in 1854. Indeed it is older than Victoria itself, which became a separate colony from New South Wales in 1851, three years after the hospital opened.
Originally called the Melbourne Hospital, and situated in a 10-bed, two-storey cottage on the corner of Lonsdale and Swanston Streets, the hospital expanded and was then completely rebuilt on that site in 1913.
It moved to its present location in 1944, but remnants of the old buildings still exist on its original site within the QV Centre.
Renamed The Royal Melbourne Hospital by Royal Charter on 27 March 1935, the hospital in 2005 amalgamated with the former Mount Royal Hospital and now encompasses a second campus at Royal Park.