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Victorian Hospital Records Part 1 : Royal Children’s Hospital

Level : Intermediate

Reading time : 3mins

Do you have ancestors who were patients at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne? Perhaps they were doctors, nurses, pharmacists or Board of Management members?

Read on to discover where the records of this old and most prestigious hospital hide.

Above : L to R The Royal Children's Hospital's 1st building 1870; Opening of a new ward 1876; 3rd building in Carlton.

Melbourne's Royal Children’s Hospital is one of Victoria’s most respected institutions. Originally named the "Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children", it opened in 1870 and operated out of a small, double-fronted, two-storied building in Stephen Street (now Exhibition Street) in Melbourne’s central business district.

Dating back to 1870 the hospital’s historic records have been transferred to the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV). They include but are by no means limited to:

  • patient histories;

  • admission and discharge registers;

  • nurse training records and nurses’ lecture books;

  • applicants for nursing and other positions;

  • death registers;

  • autopsy registers and mortuary books;

  • doctors' attendance records;

  • minutes, agenda and papers of the Committee of Management;

  • Medical Staff Association records;

  • hospital minutes and correspondence.

A list of all the records PROV holds for the Royal Children’s Hospital is in their catalogue at .

Unfortunately, the PROV catalogue is not that easy or intuitive to use despite their efforts to improve the search function in recent times. The easiest way to find the RCH file list is to:

  • On PROV's home page go to Advanced Search;

  • On the Advanced Search page click the Agency button;

  • In the Agency No. (VA#) box type 1239 (this is the Royal Children’s Hospital agency number);

  • Click Search.

Screen shot showing how to search for Children's Hospital records on PROV website

The complete file list will appear with a huge range of files and indexes. Don’t forget to always read the description of the file series you are interested in.

This is an outstanding record collection for family historians. Unfortunately, the records are not online but if you live in Melbourne or have an opportunity to visit the reading room in North Melbourne, then an abundance of records await your research.

Don't miss my next blog post : Victorian Hospital Records Part 2 : Royal Melbourne Hospital.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear if your family had any connections with the Royal Children's Hospital and if you find any records for them. Leave a comment below.

Therese Lynch

Your Family Genealogist

Pictures : courtesy of State Library of Victoria

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