JMPH: a historic timeline
*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this post contains images of deceased persons*
The story of the Queen Vic
The history of the Queen Vic is entwined with the first feminism wave of the late 1800’s. It was impossible for women to study medicine in Victoria until 1887, prior to this time women had to travel overseas to obtain training. This included Dr Constance Stone known as ‘The First Australian Lady Doctor’ and one of the founding members of the Victorian Medical Women’s Society.
In 1896, Dr Constance Stone together with ten women doctors opened the Victoria Hospital for the care of women and children, a small clinic ran out of St David’s Welsh Church, La Trobe Street.
As the first women’s hospital in Victoria, it was also one of only three in the world operated for women, by women. The hospital opened in new premises on William Street by appealing to the women of Victoria to support its ‘Shilling Fund’ – just one shilling each would provide enough money to fund their new hospital.
The Queen Vic also served another purpose – to provide training and employment for a small but increasing number of women doctors. These doctors were mostly unwelcome in the Victorian medical establishment, and the new hospital was a radical recognition that they were a necessity to the women of Victoria.
What part did Jessie McPherson Hospital play in the history of the Queen Vic?
Jessie McPherson Community Hospital was established to help finance the Queen Vic; increasing costs and complexities of running the hospital required a more complex solution than the usual housekeeping and fundraising measures.
The community hospital model involved middle-class and wealthy patients paying a fee, enabling the hospital to be self-supporting. With the community hospital catering for those patients unwilling or unable to pay private hospital fees, but not poor enough to receive charity, the public hospitals would be left with more beds available for the poor.
In 1929 the charities board agreed that such community hospitals could well provide the solution to financing hospitals like the Queen Vic and in 1931 the Jessie McPherson Community Hospital opened its doors.
An Enduring Legacy: Celebrating 90 years
In 1977, with the Jessie McPherson Community Hospital, it amalgamated with McCulloch House, to become the Queen Victoria Medical Centre. It kept this name until the move to Clayton when it became Monash Medical Centre in 1987.
Jessie McPherson Community Hospital retained its name with a slight change to Jessie McPherson Private Hospital.
We are so very proud to be part of the enduring legacy of the fondly remembered Queen Vic, with its distinctive spirit living on through the services we provide to our community.
To celebrate 90 years of caring for Victorians we have put together a timeline with a selection of highlights from our joint past with the Queen Vic, we hope you enjoy reading about our rich history.
Do you have any memories of Jessie McPherson Private Hospital over the years?
Were you a patient when we had ‘Matrons’ instead of ‘Directors of Nursing’?
Do you have memories from working at or being cared for at the Queen Victoria Medical Centre?
Share your memories with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to historian Emma Russell and Dr Monica Lausch, Historical Collections Curator at Monash Health for their assistance.