Loving Kiss From A Big Brother

Child and Adolescent Health Service

Celebrating 108 years


Princess Margaret Hospital


PMH 1950 - 1969


Allied health services continue to expand with the addition of speech and occupational therapy.

Visiting hours rules are relaxed even further to allow parents to visit any reasonable time of day and portable beds and reclining chairs are provided to parents who wish to stay overnight.

Average length of stay for patients is just under ten days, a massive reduction on the weeks or even months patients averaged in decades prior.

The WA Government announces that Western Australia is to have its own medical school and that PMH will house the Department of Child Health.

PMH matures from a community hospital to a recognised centre for paediatric teaching and research.

Dr Godfrey is responsible for setting aside large play areas for children on all of the wards.

PMH receives the services of its first paid sessional specialist paediatricians – doctors Patricia Ryan, Ian Wallman and Peter Silberstein. Up until this point, specialists were unpaid consultants who mostly worked with adults. Under the traditional and honorary system, medical specialists were obliged to donate their services to public hospitals.

The Princess Margaret Child Health Research Foundation is established.

The Cardiac Investigation Department is formed, researching cases of congenital heart disease and giving new hope for babies with congenital heart conditions that would have once been untreatable.


As Perth’s population sprawls, community health centres cannot keep up. Nights and weekends prove to be hectic times for the emergency department.

This decade was a time of major redevelopment with new buildings replacing old, totally transforming the appearance of PMH.

The first multistorey ward block opens in PMH’s 60th year of service.

Advances in research and surgical techniques make it possible to successfully treat children suffering from conditions previously thought incurable.

Over the next 48 years, PMH remains one of the main beneficiaries for Channel 7’s Telethon. Through the generosity of the Channel 7 Telethon Trust, PMH and the Child and Adolescent Health Service benefit from funding to provide specialist facilities, vital hospital equipment, research fellowships and to support community based services.

Telethon 7 logo


Dr Robert Godfrey is appointed Medical Superintendent and is instrumental in leading hospital reform in medical administration. Under Dr Godfrey, PMH becomes the first hospital in Australia to introduce a daily visiting hours policy.


The Clontarf Boys' Home bus crash tragedy results in one death and 18 boys maimed or seriously injured.


W B MacDonald is appointed as the first Professor of Child Health.

The first students from the University of WA medical school commence their paediatric placements at PMH.

Matron Stokes retires after a record 28 years as Matron of PMH.


The Cardiac Investigation Department performs their first open heart surgery.

Miss Mavi Elliott is appointed Health Visitor in Charge of the Home Care Scheme. She develops a follow-up system where she visits children at home once they are discharged, to further treat and rehabilitate them to avoid having long stays in hospital.


As the Golden Age Hotel is no longer required as a convalescent home, it is converted into the Nurses Training School, complete with accommodation.

The first operation to close a hole in the heart is performed successfully in November.


A small unit attached to Ward 6 opens. It is dedicated to preterm babies and newborns.

The Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic is created. The multidisciplinary approach involves a team of plastic surgeons, dental specialists, speech pathologist, audiologist, ear, nose and throat specialist and social worker. Treatment is coordinated and integrated revolutionising nose, lip and palate repair and garnering international recognition for PMH.

Household accidents are the greatest cause of hospitalisation. Public education programs begin to educate parents about household dangers.

The old theatre block is remodelled. Prior to this, surgeons changed in the tea room, nurses in the corridor and the linen cupboard doubled as the anaesthetic room.


The first TVs are installed on all PMH wards, providing a welcome distraction to patients.


PMH’s renowned Burns Unit is established.

The Hay Street Outpatients building is completed, opening in October.


The Poisons Information Centre is established at PMH.

HRH the Queen mother visits.

The PMH Pharmacy begins labelling all medicines ‘keep out of reach of children’ which is later adopted by the Pharmaceutical Society and becomes standard for all medicine containers Australia-wide.


An original pavilion ward is transformed into accommodation providing complete care for children with severe mental health issues. (Ward 10).

Channel 7 Perth establishes Telethon, a registered charitable trust dedicated to raising funds to improve the lives of children and young people throughout Western Australia. PMH becomes a beneficiary.

In an attempt to address the specific needs of Aboriginal patients, the Save the Children Fund appoints registered nurse, Mrs Margaret Clements to visit Aboriginal children in the metropolitan area.


The first multistorey ward block, the Harry Boan building, opens in October.

The hospital’s first intensive care unit opens with six beds/cots with Dr Nerida Dilworth in charge.

PMH establishes the Aboriginal Advancement Council in Beaufort Street, Perth with consultants Dr Josephine Wilkie, Dr Rex Henderson, Dr Judy Henderson, Dr Fiona Stanley and Dr Baxter.

Margaret Clements becomes PMH’s first Aboriginal liaison nurse.

Dr Robert Godfrey
Dr Robert Godfrey
Clontarf boys injured in crash - 1955
Clontarf boys injured in crash - 1955
Matron Stokes
Matron Stokes
Professor W B MacDonald with medical students
Professor W B MacDonald with medical students
Special Care Unit
Special Care Unit
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