Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children

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The association between the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children1 and the University of Sydney dates back to 1884 when the Hospital, then sited at Glebe, and known as The Sydney Hospital for Sick Children, was recognized by the University just one year after the Medical School had begun as a place of clinical instruction.

At that time, Professor Anderson Stuart was one of the Hospital Physicians. The Hospital moved to its present site in Camperdown in 1906.

In 1924, when (Sir) Charles Clubbe was President of the Board of Management, formal arrangements were made for the regular attendance of students for lectures and clinical instruction in the wards. Over the next two years, a teaching block was built with a large lecture theatre (later to be known as the Lorimer Dods Lecture Theatre) and common rooms.

Two Lecturers in Paediatrics were appointed: Edgar Stephen (Medicine) and (Sir) Robert Wade (Surgery). From that time all appointments to the honorary staff were made by a Conjoint Board, which consisted of representatives of the University and of the Hospital. The two great teachers of recent memory, Lorimer Dods and J. S. Steigrad, were appointed Tutors in 1937 and influenced many decades of medical students.

After the Second World War, the need to promote paediatrics and child health was recognized and in 1949 an Institute of Child Health was established by the Commonwealth Government within the Hospital grounds. The University agreed to grant the title of Professor of Child Health to the Head of the Institute, and the Hospital undertook to make available teaching and clinical facilities, and to grant the Professor the status of an Honorary Physician of the Hospital. Lorimer Dods was appointed Director of the Institute in November and two months later, Professor of Child Health.

The Hospital today continues that tradition of teaching. The Children’s Hospital now has 340 beds and provides a full range of diagnostic and treatment facilities ranging from a twenty-four hour child abuse service to open-heart surgery capable of corrective surgery in tiny premature infants: from postgraduate training programmes to community-based, parent courses in child-rearing. It indeed continues to be relevant to all aspects of paediatrics and child care throughout the State.

1The Hospital was founded in 1880 as ‘The Sydney Hospital for Sick Children’. Its name was changed to the ‘Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children’ on 4 January 1904 when King Edward VII granted use of the appellation ‘Royal’ and his consort, Queen Alexandra, consented to the use of her name (J.A.Y.).

Citation: John Yu (2009) "Royal Alexandra Hospital" in Sydney Medical School, Online Museum and Archive

Original source: John Yu, "Royal Alexandra Hospital" in Young J, Sefton A and Webb N, Centenary Book of the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine. Sydney University Press, Sydney