History by category: Mater Children's Private Hospital

Mater Children’s Hospital expands to meet growing demands

On 15 October 1981, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a special guest visitor to Mater. Her pastoral visit was a highlight of the Golden Jubilee for Mater Children’s Hospital. Since opening fifty years earlier in 1931, Mater Children’s Hospital had become an integral to the paediatric healthcare landscape in Queensland.  

During the 1980s, specialist clinics at Mater Children’s Hospital became increasingly important; and clinic numbers increased from 25 to 42 between 1977 and 1980. These clinics covered areas including diabetes, cleft palate and cranio-facial conditions, and cystic fibrosis. In 1984, Sister Marie Fitzgerald’s Spina Bifida Clinic (the School Function Clinic), and a respiratory laboratory to help address Brisbane’s high rates of asthma in children, also opened. Three years later in 1987, Queensland's first Paediatric Sleep Unit was established at the hospital. 

To support this increase in services, facilities gradually began expanding. A new McAuley wing with an infants’ ward, and The University of Queensland Department of Child Health Officers were opened. The Mater School was also constructed by the Queensland Government on land donated by the Sisters of Mercy.

The expansion of services marked Mater Children’s Hospital’s development as a large tertiary-level paediatric facility. By 1990, the emergency department was often the busiest in Queensland.

As an extension of support for families with children being cared for at the hospital, Ronald McDonald House opened on Allen Street in 1990.

Two years later, in 1992, Mater came under pressure to move Mater Children’s Hospital to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital at Mt Gravatt. In a response to the State Government, the Sisters of Mercy stated the hospital must not only remain with the Mater family at South Brisbane, but that the state should support its redevelopment.

In 1998, Queensland's first comprehensive Paediatric Epilepsy Centre was opened at Mater Children's Hospital.

The same year, on 9 March 1998 Mater opened Australia’s first private paediatric facility—Mater Children's Private Hospital. The new 25 bed hospital, based on a seaside theme, was bright and cheerful, and each patient's room had its own computer with internet access.   

In 1999, Australia's first formal study into pet therapy for children in hospital commenced at Mater Children’s Hospital.

Tags: Mater Children’s Hospital, Mater Children's Private Hospital

The new Mater Children’s Hospital

As a specialist referral centre for young patients from all over Queensland, northern New South Wales and beyond, Mater Children’s Hospital faced increasing pressure on its services during the latter part of the 1980s and early 1990s. In order to relieve that strain and ensure it was well equipped to face the medical challenges of the 21st century, Mater committed to constructing two new Children's Hospitals for privately insured and non-insured patients. On 16 May 2001, a new Mater Children's Hospital and Mater Children's Private Hospital was officially opened on Stanley Street by the Governor of Queensland, His Excellency Major-General Peter Arnison, AC and blessed by the Archbishop of Brisbane, The Most Reverend John Bathersby, DD.       

The new Mater Children’s Hospital, with its external façade designed to reflect the essence of Queensland—blue skies and brown land, sparkling seas and tranquil creeks—was designed to be family-focused. Overnight accommodation was provided for parents in every ward and single room, parent lounges and special relaxation areas for teenagers were created, indoor and outdoor play areas were designed and ample space allowed for performers visiting the hospital.

Ceramic tiles designed by children were installed on many walls; windows and service counters were built at child height; the chapel was designed to be welcoming to children and, in 2003, a bright, light-hearted animal mural was painted on a corridor wall to lead children from ward areas to play areas.

The new hospital also became the first in Queensland with a Starlight Room contributed by the Starlight Foundation and supported by Australian tennis champion Pat Rafter.

On 12 June 2008, The Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Service was officially opened at Mater Children's Hospital by the Minister for Health, The Hon. Stephen Robertson MP and blessed by the Auxiliary Bishop for Brisbane, The Most Reverend Brian Finnigan, DD.  

On 6 July 2011, Mater Children's Hospital celebrates its 80th birthday with a special birthday party.

Tags: Mater Children’s Hospital, Mater Children's Private Hospital