The site of Sydney’s first children’s hospital was chosen by doctors from the University of Sydney because of its convenient location. The first women doctors at a public hospital were appointed here. Some of its palm trees were relocated to the palm jungle under the expressway over Darling Harbour. The lawn is a popular place to sit, and there are jazz concerts here in summer.
Everyone knows how susceptible children are to infections. Before the days of mass vaccinations these diseases were more prevalent and the survival of children depended on the quality of nursing. The first children’s hospital was established on this site in 1880 by doctors from the University of Sydney, and included an isolation cottage opposite. The first women doctors to be appointed to a public hospital, Ada Affleck and Julia Carlisle Thomas, both graduates of Sydney, joined the staff.
Increased demand, especially from regional areas, led to a new and much larger children’s hospital being built at Camperdown on Bridge Road (1904), and it seems concern about lingering infection resulted in the demolition, first of the isolation cottage, and later of the main building, at quite an early date. The site remained vacant, used for fundraising activities by Sydney Homeopathic Hospital next door. The hospital at Camperdown was rechristened the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, then moved to Westmead in 1996.