History & Tradition

In 1838, five nuns from the Order of the Sisters of Charity in Dublin arrived in Australia at the request of Bishop John Bede Polding. They were the first religious community of women to arrive in the new colony. Their mission was to care for the poor and needy within the Sisters of Charity framework of care and compassion.


Early Work
Their early work included helping convict women and children at Parramatta, at what was then known as the Female Factory; assisting families during the 1844 influenza epidemic and caring for prisoners and their families at inner-city Darlinghurst Gaol.

Image First Hospital Opened
One of the goals of this courageous group of pioneering women was to open their own hospital. On 25 August 1857, St Vincent’s Hospital opened in an estate in Potts Point as a free hospital for all people, but especially for the poor. Three of the Hospital's founding Sisters were professional nurses, having trained in France, and they brought their knowledge to the colony.

Growing Demand for Services
From its humble origin of 22 beds, the demand for St Vincent's services led it to move to its current site at Darlinghurst (Victoria Street) in 1870 where, under the guidance and direction of the Sisters, it continued to prosper and grow.

ImageSince then St Vincent’s Hospital has grown into a leading medical, surgical and research facility and is at the forefront of innovation in areas including heart, lung and bone marrow transplantation.

Australia's Largest Not-for-Profit
Health Provider

In 1991 St Vincent's Hospital was incorporated under its own Act of Parliament and is now known as St Vincent's Hospital Limited. In April 1996, St Vincent's joined the Sisters of Charity Health Service, which has 17 health care facilities and is Australia's largest not-for-profit health provider.

Today, St Vincent’s Hospital is one of Australia’s leading acute care hospitals active in teaching and research. In 150 years, the Hospital has earned a reputation for providing the highest quality of care and compassion for all.

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St Vincent’s Hospital 1857-2007 “150 Years of Charity, Care & Compassion” is available for purchase.

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