Sunday, August 18, 2013

Royal Children's Hospital: Open House Melbourne

The chance to have a good look at the new Royal Children's Hospital was too good to pass up, so I added it to my list of buildings to run around and see as part of Open House Melbourne. Having volunteered during first year uni at the old RCH, and then completing my uni placement at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto last year, I have been really interested to see the inside of this new building and the features designed for it's purpose of caring for kids.

I remember being nearby when the Queen attended to open the new building, and the plaque she unveiled was one of the first stops of the tour. We were taken around most of the ground floor areas by a volunteer, with so many of the new details pointed out.

The Creature is the unmissable art feature of Main Street - a colourful, giant being that fills so much of the space. The Creature has a butterfly sitting on his hand, who's wings gently open and close - symbolising the fact that something so big (the hospital) can take care of something so little and precious (the sick child).

In addition to this, the space overhead is filled with giant mobiles of fairies in the form of children at play.

There is so much natural light streaming into the building, and from almost every window of the hospital is a view of the parkland all around the building.

One of the most impressive and well-thought out aspects of the new hospital is the outpatients clinic - a now centralised point for families to attend their appointments, instead of running all over the building to different departments. The Consultants come down to this area to see the family - genius, and so patient-focused.

The waiting area of this outpatients area houses the meerkats, another one of the lovely features of the new building. Melbourne Zoo staff come across daily to care for the animals, who provide a distraction to waiting children, and indeed kids staying up on the wards, as they watch these busy little 'kats.

The other talking point of the hospital is the aquarium along Main Street, which runs down through two floors, to include the Emergency Department downstairs. Another point where families can escape their visit purpose by watching colourful fish, and mini sharks swim around in the water. So cool!

We also visited the Hoyts beanbag cinema, and the Starlight Room. A sample room from a ward was on display downstairs, as the ward names were described, which are all based on Aussie flora and fauna like Koala and Banksia. Each level of the hospital has a theme, from Beach to Tree Tops to Sky.

It's so impressive, and such a special place when you remember all the amazing things going on in here. It is still very much a place I hope to work in one day!


  1. It's such a beautiful building. I hope to visit again soon.
    How great about the centralised outpatient desk - I recall my clinic kept on changing locations!
    One of the young people I mentored opened the door for the queen. So proud.

    1. Oh wow, what a amazing moment that must have been! Something to tell people forever! Ha!

      It's a pretty impressive design and functional layout - and our tour was surely just the tip of the iceberg of the massive complex.


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