Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children

The Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (also known as The Children's Hospital at Westmead) is a children's hospital in Sydney, New South Wales. The Hospital was founded in 1880 as "The Sydney Hospital for Sick Children". Its name was changed to the "Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children" on 4 January 1904 when King Edward VII granted use of the appellation ‘Royal’ and his consort, Queen Alexandra, consented to the use of her name.

Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children
Sydney Children's Hospital Network
Westmead Childrens Hospital 1.JPG
Hospital entrance
LocationCnr Hawkesbury Rd &, Hainsworth St, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates33°48′06″S 150°59′31″E / 33.8017°S 150.992°E / -33.8017; 150.992Coordinates: 33°48′06″S 150°59′31″E / 33.8017°S 150.992°E / -33.8017; 150.992
Care systemMedicare (Australia)
FundingPublic hospital
Hospital typeSpecialist
Affiliated universityUniversity of Sydney
NetworkNSW Health
Emergency departmentYes
Pediatric Major Trauma Centre
Helipad(ICAO: YXWM)
Number Length Surface
ft m
1 aluminium

It is one of three children's hospitals in New South Wales. It is currently located on Hawkesbury Road in Westmead and is affiliated with the University of Sydney.

On 1 July 2010 it became part of the newly formed 'Sydney Children's Hospital Network (Randwick and Westmead) incorporating the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children'.[1]

Name and relocationEdit

RAHC Camperdown

The hospital was opened in 1880 as the Sydney Hospital for Sick Children by a group of concerned citizens, led by Lady Allen the wife of Sir George Wigram Allen, who were worried about the health of the younger members of society in New South Wales. It soon out-grew the small building in which it was housed at Glebe Point. In 1906 it moved to a much grander building, designed by Harry Kent in Camperdown, where it stayed for 89 years, where it was known as the Camperdown Children's Hospital.[2]:34

In 1995, the hospital was relocated to its current location in Westmead to better serve the growing populations of western Sydney.

This relocation involved amalgamation with most of the paediatric services of nearby Westmead Hospital (apart from neonates) to form a new hospital with a new name; initially "The New Children's Hospital" and more recently "The Children's Hospital at Westmead". The official name of the hospital; the "Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children" is retained.


The Children's Hospital at Westmead is one of the busiest Children's Hospitals in New South Wales seeing over 80,000 patients annually and is the only Children's hospital in New South Wales to have an IC24 accredited Intensive Care Unit with accreditations in Cardiology, Neurology and Trauma.[3][4]

As well as general units, there are a range of high dependancy units including a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Burns Unit and Diabetes Unit. For a full list of service, refer to the table in links below.

Bone Marrow Transplant Child Protection Unit Cardiology Dentistry Emergency Department
Day Surgery Hydrotherapy Neurology Neurosurgery Occupational Therapy
Oncology Orthopaedics Physiotherapy Renal Unit Speech Pathology

Notable doctors and board membersEdit

Some notable individuals connected to the history of the Children's Hospital are:

  • Sir Lorimer Dods LVO (1900–1981), paediatrician, who founded, with assistance from Dr John Fulton and Douglas Burrows, the Children's Medical Research Foundation.[5]
  • Sir Charles Clubbe (1854–1932), was the President of the hospital's Board of Management from 1904 until 1932, can perhaps be called the father of the Children's Hospital and is sometimes also mentioned as one of the fore-fathers of Australian orthopaedic surgery. Sir Charles Clubbe has a ward named after him.
  • Dr Margaret Harper (1879–1964), paediatrician, who discovered the difference between coeliac disease and cystic fibrosis of the pancreas in 1930.
  • Sir Norman Gregg (1892–1966), ophthalmologist, was the first person to identify German measles as a cause for congenital deformities.
  • Dr Lindsay Dey CBE (1886-1973), paediatrician, was the President of the hospital's Board of Management from 1946 until 1959.
  • Dr Frank Tidswell (1867-1941), microbiologist, was the Director of Pathology from 1913 until 1941.
  • Dr. R. Douglas Reye (1912-1977), fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, after whom Reye's syndrome was named, worked at the hospital from 1939 until his death.
  • Dr Marcel Sofer-Schreiber (1910-1994)[MRCS &FRCS 1938; MB BS Sydney 1931; FRACS] paediatric neurosurgeon, led the way in Australia in the treatment of hydrocephalus, using the Spitz-Holter shunt in the 1960s. He went on to train many doctors to carry out this procedure, thus saving the lives of countless babies, and leaving a lasting legacy. He published extensively on his specialty with papers on hydrocephalus, head injuries and spinal tumours. He was also the first surgeon to draw attention to the potentially deadly condition of subdural haematoma in infants.

Notable patientsEdit

Some notable individuals connected to the history of the Children's Hospital are:

  • Francis Chan (born 1991): the youngest liver transplant patient in Australia at three months old. He underwent two transplants three days apart as the first transplant failed until the last-minute call came in time for another transplant to save his life.[citation needed]
  • Sophie Delezio (born 2001):

Adolescent healthEdit

The Adolescent Medicine at The Children's Hospital at Westmead seeks to improve the health and well-being of young people aged 12 – 24. The key focus areas include developing information and resources; capacity building to increase workers’ skills and confidence in adolescent health; supporting applied research; advocacy & policy development to increase leadership and action for adolescent health.[6]

The hospital provides a transgender support service for gender dysphoria,[7] for which demand has "tripled", with the youngest client being a four-year-old who has identified as transgender. While clinical psychologist Rose Cantali said that age is, "absolutely too early" for a child to change gender, transgender gynaecologist Rosemary Jones has said that four is a "good age" and that "parents who have any sense can usually pick it".[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Health Services Order 2010" (PDF). NSW Government.
  2. ^ Venables, Lisa. Saving Zali. Macmillan Publishers Australia. 2014.
  3. ^ "Paediatric Accredited Units". College of Intensive Care Medicine.
  4. ^ "The Children's Hospital at Westmead - Fast Facts" (PDF). Sydney Children's Health Network.
  5. ^ Yu, John, 'Dods, Sir Lorimer Fenton (1900–1981)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Retrieved 11 August 2012
  6. ^ "Adolescent Medicine at The Children's Hospital at Westmead". Sydney Children's Hospital. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Transgender Support Services & Information" (PDF). ABC News. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  8. ^ Gleeson, Ashleigh (1 September 2016). "Preschooler begins transition aged four: Children as young as three claiming gender dysphoria". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2016.