In 1889, five Sisters of Charity arrived in Melbourne with the dream of establishing a hospital. The dream was realised on 6 November 1893, with the opening of a small 'cottage hospital' in converted terraces on Victoria Parade.
The hospital originally held about 30 beds and in its first 14 months treated 2584 patients, 441 of these as inpatients. The Sisters of Charity were assisted in nursing duties by a small number of trained nurses and trainees. Honorary medical staff provided medical and surgical services.
The first Sister Superior in charge of the hospital was Mother Mary Berchmans Daly, after whom a hospital wing is named. She was noted for keen judgement in appointing medical and surgical staff and exceptional organisational and fundraising skills. Key achievements during her time at the helm were the building of the hospital’s first purpose-built wing and the establishment of the St Vincent’s Clinical School.
St Vincent's Archives
St Vincent’s Archives collects and preserves records and artefacts that tell the story of St Vincent’s, from its foundation in 1893 to the present day.
Highlights of the collection include photographs and publicity material, annual reports, papers of hospital historians and records from the Nurses’ Training School.
The Archives can be contacted by phone (03) 9288 3040 (Wed–Fri) or by emailing Barbara.Cytowicz@svhm.org.au
Staff in the early years of the hospital included George Adlington Syme, founder and first President of the (Royal) Australasian College of Surgeons; Thomas Peel Dunhill, later a surgeon to the royal family; Hugh Devine, another founder and future President of the (Royal) Australasian College of Surgeons; Douglas Shields, brigadier general in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War I and proprietor of a very successful London clinic; Julian Smith, surgeon and photographer and Herman Lawrence, a dermatologist and international authority on radium treatment.
41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia. Phone:
(03) 9288 2211