Our History

Monash Health has a proud history of providing health care to the people of Victoria reaching back to the mid-1800s.

Our history can be traced back through:

  • Melbourne Benevolent Asylum established in 1850 to care for the ill and destitute of Melbourne.  In 1911 the facility opened on the current site in Cheltenham. It was renamed the Kingston Centre in 1970 and the focus of its service dramatically changed. It is now a leading centre for aged care and rehabilitation;
  • Homeopathic Hospital which operated from c.1869 to c.1934 and was the precursor of the Prince Henry’s Hospital which operated from 1934 to 1992 when services moved to Monash Medical Centre in Clayton;
  • McCulloch House  which opened in 1888 and joined with the Queen Victoria Medical Centre in 1977;
  • Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, the first Australian hospital “For women, by women”. The hospital opened in 1896 and was founded by the first female medical graduates in Australia. It operated from 1896-1987  when it joined Prince Henry’s Hospital and Moorabbin Hospital to form Monash Medical Centre;
  • Dandenong Hospital which opened in 1942 and integrated into the Southern Health Care Network (predecessor to Monash Health) in 1995;
  • Moorabbin Hospital which opened in 1977 as a community hospital before becoming part of Monash Medical Centre in 1987; and
  • Several community health services including those serving Cranbourne, Berwick, Dandenong, Springvale, Parkdale, Cockatoo, Bunyip

Other hospitals which formed part of Monash Health include:

  • Hampton Rehabilitation Hospital;
  • Heatherton Hospital; and
  • Mordialloc and Cheltenham Community Hospital

In 2004 the Casey Hospital opened as Victoria’s newest hospital to serve one of the State’s fastest growing communities.

In 2017 the Monash Children’s Hospital opened at Clayton as an integral part of Monash Medical Centre.

Our Heritage

Monash Health (formerly called Southern Health) is the custodian of a large historical collection.

A century of caring for children

From our 19th century origins at the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women and Children and at Prince Henry’s Hospital in Melbourne, the health care and well-being of children has been a priority.

In the 1940’s, the Queen Victoria Hospital became the first hospital in Victoria to introduce more liberal visiting hours for parents.

This was due to the fact that the paediatricians, among them Dame Kate Campbell, believed that the inclusion of the family structure was an important factor in a child’s recovery.

The Homeopathic Hospital (1869-1934) later known as Prince Henry’s Hospital in Melbourne opened a children’s ward in 1910 until its closure following a major rationalisation of paediatric services across Victoria in 1978.

Established to meet the needs of the young families moving to the rapid growth areas of southern outer metropolitan Melbourne, Monash Medical Centre Clayton opened in 1987 with comprehensive paediatrics services as part of the relocation of the Queen Victoria Medical Centre and Prince Henry’s Hospital to Monash Medical Centre Clayton.

A children’s ward was established at Dandenong Hospital in 1955 and at Monash Health’s newest hospital Casey Hospital in 2004. Southern Health was renamed Monash Health in 2013.

A century of caring for children provides a written and pictorial story of children’s services through the years.

Our heritage collection

Monash Health is the custodian of the largest multi-hospital historical collection in Victoria.

The bulk of the material relates directly to the history, community interactions and culture of our predecessor organisations. The collection is a valuable reference and research resource for the people of Victoria.

The collection covers several areas of significant international historical interest – the first hospital for women by women, the first women graduates in medicine in Australia, and the history of homeopathy. In addition many have particular local significance or State-wide interest. The Collection was formed in 1987, coinciding with the opening of Monash Medical Centre Clayton, and amalgamating the historical collections from the:

Queen Victoria Medical Centre
Prince Henry’s Hospital
Moorabbin Hospital

Covering a wide timespan in the history of Melbourne’s hospitals, the collection provides an overview of past hospitals including the:

Melbourne Benevolent Asylum from 1850-1912 (today known as Kingston Centre)
Homeopathic Hospital from c.1869 to c.1934, the precursor of the now defunct Prince Henry’s Hospital that operated from 1934 to 1992)
Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital (1896-1987).

The collection also includes material from Monash Medical Centre Clayton (opened in 1987), Monash Medical Centre Moorabbin (opened in 1975), Dandenong Hospital (opened in 1942), Kingston Centre (opened in 1911), McCulloch House (opened in 1888), Jessie McPherson Hospital (opened in 1931) and Casey Hospital, which opened in late 2004.

Photographs, documents and items of medical equipment all form a tangible record of our growth and evolution.

The Cheer up Children Collection

Forming the historical core of our art collection, this group of 31 watercolours were painted 100 years ago in 1910 to decorate the walls of the then new Children’s Wing of the Homeopathic Hospital.

Founded in 1877, the Homeopathic Hospital was one of Melbourne’s earliest hospitals and was located in St Kilda Road. It was dependant on the generous gifts of benefactors to cover its daily operating costs and refurbishments. The new Children’s Wing was no exception and the funds for this project had been made available through the gift of an anonymous donor. The donor specifically requested frames were fixed to the walls of the children’s wards for the purpose of displaying illustrations and drawings of children’s stories and nursery rhymes. Referred to as the “Cheer Up Children Paintings,” this was the first recorded attempt to decorate a Children’s Ward in such a manner.

The four artists who were commissioned to produce the works were Janet Edith Alsop, Janet Cumbrae Stewart, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and Jessie Traill. All four artists were Melbourne based and in their early 20’s at the time, and it seems, donated these paintings without charge. This was a considerable undertaking and these paintings would have to be one of the most memorable and lasting philanthropic efforts by Melbourne artists.

All went on lead notable and distinguished careers in the art world – which was not altogether common for women artists in early twentieth century Australia. Now all four artists have work in the major public collections of Australia such as the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW and the National Gallery of Australia. Consequently, this selection of watercolours are also significant and rare examples from a group of early twentieth century female artists who all achieved success in their own artistic careers.

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