Founded by Dr James Graham in a four-roomed house in Hay Street in 1893, the Women's Hospital was funded by public subscription. A Board was formed in 1895 to ran the hospital, although the government provided equipment and furniture.
The Women's Hospital moved to Crown Street in Surry Hills in 1897, leasing the site from the Australian Red Cross until it passed to government control in 1963. From 1897 Crown Street was a teaching hospital of the University of Sydney and by 1943 it had become the largest maternity hospital in New South Wales.
Crown Street aimed to lift medical standards for maternity care. In addition to providing wards for surgical cases and complicated births the Hospital provided treatment in homes, fertility treatments and outpatients services. The slogan of the hospital was 'Crown Street never turns a patient away!'
Crown Street Women's Hospital cared for many unmarried mothers, including state wards and Aboriginal girls who were in the wardship of the Aborigines Protection and Welfare Boards. Crown Street Women's Hospital developed a major adoption service, arranging a high proportion of the state's adoptions.
According to State Records, the Hospital's Nurseries were divided into five categories - Main, D, Premature, Adoption, and Founders Isolation. The term 'adoption babies' was used for all babies awaiting adoption, foster care or other Child Welfare Department arrangement.
The Crown Street Women's Hospital was closed on 31 March 1983 and its facilities were transferred to hospitals in the outer suburbs of Sydney. The building was redeveloped as office space. Its records were sent to the Royal Hospital for Women and are now located at Prince of Wales Hospital.
In 2011 and 2012 Crown Street Women's Hospital was the subject of close attention in the Senate Inquiry into Forced Adoptions.
04 June 2020
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00446
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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