Foundation in Caring


John Fawkner celebrates 75 years of providing quality healthcare

John Fawkner Private Hospital is celebrating 75 years of providing high quality healthcare to the residents in the north of Melbourne. An icon of the local community, the hospital has evolved from predominantly being a maternity hospital into one of Melbourne’s leading private acute care hospitals. The hospital was founded in the 1930s with a strong, caring culture that is deeply embedded in the quality of care provided today.

Using a bequest of £4,000, a team of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart under the leadership of Mother Liboria commenced with plans to build a modern five storey, 92-bed not-for-profit hospital to meet the needs of working families in the north of Melbourne.

On October 28, 1939 the first baby was born in the hospital. Since then, more than 25,000 babies have been delivered at the hospital – with some returning years later to provide healthcare to the next generation.

Sacred Heart babies

“When I first enterehospital OLD photod medicine, I knew that I had to return to John Fawkner Hospital to give back to the hospital in which I was born. And when there are events such as this year’s 75th anniversary, you realise that you are just one of a number of ‘Sacred Heart babies’ who consider the hospital to be their home,” said Associate Professor James Wong, consultant cardiologist.

In December 1979, when the post-war baby boom was over, the last Sacred Heart baby was born. He then grew up to be one the hospital’s emergency department nurses.


In 1989, the Golden Jubilee of the Sacred Heart, the hospital expanded to be 115 beds. In 1991, the Missionary Sisters sold the hospital to Health Care of Australia, who later renamed it John Fawkner Hospital.

Since then, the hospital has evolved into one of the most prestigious private healthcare facilities in Melbourne with a 24/7 emergency department, intensive care unit, coronary care unit, operating theatres, surgical and medical wards and day facilities.

The hospital also provides a comprehensive range of cancer services, including state-of-the-art diagnostic services to support the medical oncology ward and day case facilities. It also conducts clinical studies in association with the John Fawkner Clinical Trials Centre and holds regular multidisciplinary meetings with specialists in surgery, medicine, diagnostic imaging and pathology to explore ways to further improve the quality of cancer care that it provides to patients.

This year the day chemotherapy unit will celebrate its 20th anniversary by creating an anniversary garden that will provide patients and their families and friends with an area of tranquillity.

Community involvement

HJohn Fawkner theatre photo FIXospital General Manager Kieron Martin said, “The success of the hospital is a testament to those that built and contributed to its services over the past 75 years and to the local community for their support.

We are proud to support the community through initiatives such as sponsoring the Moreland Relay for Life and participating in the Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network Real Industry Job Interview program, the Principal for a Day event, and also our strong relationship with two local colleges, assisting their students to get a valuable insight into working in healthcare.”

Over the past five years the hospital has invested significantly in the training and development of its team and in purchasing new technology to provide the range of services required in a hospital with a busy emergency department. It was a pioneer in brain surgery, being the first hospital in the Asia-Pacific region to purchase the technology at the time, and has more recently introduced a range of new services in orthopaedic surgery, liver surgery and colorectal surgery.

With the hospital currently operating at full capacity, the priority for the next two years is to redecorate and refresh much of the existing infrastructure. It will also progress with its planning application to add a new wing to the hospital to provide additional operating theatres and wards as well as to expand the emergency department and an essential onsite multi-storey car park.

John Fawkner Private Hospital wishes to thank all its doctors and staff both past and present for support of the hospital over the past 75 years.


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