A true hospital of the people.
The Alfred was born 150 years ago at a time of tremendous challenges.
Through bushfires and wars, from the Spanish flu to COVID-19, we’ve always confronted adversity with humanity, caring deeply and working resolutely for anyone in need.
Today, The Alfred serves the whole of Victoria.
We continue to grow, shaping the future of healthcare to deliver an extraordinary range of expertise.
When new challenges arrive, as they always will, we’ll face them together, strengthened and lifted by the spirit of The Alfred.
The Alfred’s 150-year history.
Caring for Victorians since 1871.
The Alfred is a Victorian icon recognised as one of the world’s leading healthcare providers. Here are just some of our milestones as we reflect on our history.
His Royal Highness, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, survives an assassination attempt
While visiting Australia, Prince Alfred survives an assassination attempt at a picnic in Sydney. As a gesture of thanks, the people of Melbourne established a memorial fund to build a hospital in his name.
The Alfred officially opens its doors
The Alfred officially opens with its first outpatient on March 6, 1871. The first inpatient is admitted one week later on March 13.
A lifetime of nursing education begins
The Alfred’s School of Nursing becomes the first formal general nurse training school in Victoria.
Philanthropy supports first major extension
A gift in the Will of the Late John Linay enables the first major extension at The Alfred and its first ever operating theatre. The Linay Pavilion still exists today as a proud legacy and a testament to philanthropy at The Alfred.
Alfred nurses provide care during war
Alfred nurses volunteer to serve in the First World War. They remain until the 1918 Armistice by which time Alfred nurses had cared for Australian troops as well as French, Canadian, British and Indian along with Prisoners of War (POW) including wounded German POW soldiers. Image of Alfred Matron Grace Wilson courtesy of Australian War Memorial A05332
Spanish Flu pandemic strikes Melbourne
The Spanish Influenza Epidemic, which caused the highest death rates for any communicable disease in history, breaks out in Australia. Pavilions were fitted out at The Alfred by the Department of Defence to treat the vast numbers of patients.
Penicillin is first administered at The Alfred
1 million units of penicillin arrive by special emergency plane from America. The first Alfred patient to receive the penicillin is a boy suffering from osteomyelitis (bone infection) and septicaemia. He was so sick many thought the penicillin was being wasted. Fortunately, he makes a miraculous recovery.
Pioneering cardiac surgery begins
One of the first open-heart surgeries in Australia is performed by Mr Ken Morris using a heart-lung machine, also developed at The Alfred. Today, The Alfred treats the most advanced forms of cardiovascular disease with an extensive research and education program.
ICU commences at The Alfred
Intensive care first commences at The Alfred with a single bed in the Department of Surgery. Today the ICU is one of Australia’s leading Intensive Care Units, admitting more than 3,000 patients a year.
The burns unit comes of age
The Alfred sends a medical team to assist with the Ash Wednesday bushfires. The team set up a mobile field hospital at the Berwick showgrounds to treat those affected. At this time, The Alfred’s Burns Unit establishes itself as the state’s major adult burns centre.
Hyperbaric first at The Alfred
Victoria’s first and only hyperbaric chamber in a public hospital opens at The Alfred providing one of the world’s most active and technologically advanced hyperbaric services, with a diverse and often complex case mix of acute and elective work.
First heart transplant at The Alfred
The Alfred performs its first successful heart transplant in 1989, followed by the first combined heart-lung transplant in 1990. Today the transplant service coordinates around 25 heart transplants and 72 lung transplants a year.
New trauma centre opens
Australia’s first dedicated trauma centre is opened at The Alfred, including Victoria’s largest helipad built for responding to mass emergencies.
The William Buckland Radiotherapy Centre opens
The new centre forges the way for The Alfred Health Radiation Oncology unit providing the latest and most effective radiation therapy.
Victorian HIV Service established
After years of extensive HIV care and treatment, the Victorian HIV Service is established at The Alfred, after the closure of Fairfield Hospital. This service is nationally recognised as a leader in HIV clinical care, research and education.
Tragedy strikes Bali
The Alfred plays a significant role treating some of the most severely injured patients from the Bali bombings where 88 Australians sadly lost their lives.
A new Emergency and Trauma Centre
The upgrade is funded entirely by The Alfred Foundation through the support of donors, resulting in a globally recognised centre treating more than 65,000 emergency patients each year.
The world grapples with COVID-19
The Alfred plays a significant role in responding to the pandemic, working collaboratively to help lead the way in diagnosis, treatment and research.