History of paediatric nursing in the ACT

The original Canberra Hospital was built on a stunning site jutting out into Lake Burley Griffin. The site now houses the National Museum of Australia.

See the chronology below of peadiatric nursing below for a complete history of how this specialty has evolved from 1914 through to the present day.

TCH Home

Chronological history of paediatric nursing in the ACT

1914 - The first hospital in Canberra built at Acton on Lake Burley Griffin. There is no specific mention of paediatric beds, but there were 6 isolation beds with any over flow catered for in adjacent tents.

1927/28 - There were 10 children's beds.

1929 - First children's Christmas party held to which all children in Canberra invited.

1943 - New hospital opens on Acton peninsula with 27 beds in the paediatric ward. Photographs reveal it was very stark with no decoration or pictures visible.

1950s - Bed capacity reduced to 20. Photographs from the 1950's show a large mural depicting a beach scene.

1958 - Relatives not permitted to visit the nursery to see babies, and even visits by mothers discouraged. Visits to the childrens ward restricted to Sunday afternoons only.

1976 - First paediatric clinical nurse educator appointed.

1980s - Only two paediatric trained nurses in the early 1980s.

1985 - The first Post Basic Paediatric Nursing Course commences at Royal Canberra Hospital. Graduates from this course establish the core of paediatric nursing expertise in the ACT during the 1990s.

1991 - Paediatric Unit transferred to Woden Valley Hospital (WVH) upon closure of Royal Canberra Hospital.

1995 - The Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Nursing commenced begins with accreditation through the NSW College of Nursing.

1996 - Woden Valley Hospital re-named Canberra Hospital.

1996 - Adolescent Ward opens at Canberra Hospital.

1998 - High Dependency Unit (HDU) opens.

1999 - Graduate Diploma of Paediatric and Child Health Nursing begins in conjunction with the University of Canberra.

2002 - Central desk built on 4B.

2003 - PatCH (Paediatrics at the Canberra Hospital) concept launched with the opening of the new outpatient and day surgery area on level 5. Planning for all inpatient areas to be on one floor (4th) began.

2008 - ACT Government commits $90 million to the construction of a new Women and Children's Hospital at Canberra Hospital.