The Museum of Nursing History2022-08-02T11:08:29+10:00
The Museum of
Nursing History
Remembering our past
Come and discover the wonderful
historical collection of our proud
history of nursing.
Open Tuesday and Friday
10.00am to 2.00pm
Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital

Remembering our past
Come and discover the wonderful historical collection of our proud history of nursing.
Open Tuesday and Friday
10.00am to 2.00pm

The Museum of Nursing History

The Museum of Nursing History acknowledges the importance of the nursing profession and notable pioneering nurses and midwives who trained and worked at the hospital over the years since its inception as the Brisbane Hospital to what is now Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH).

The Museum proudly showcases the history of nursing through a collection of photographs and memorabilia dating from the late 19th century. It provides a historic glimpse for past and present generations of nurses and midwives to reflect and remember nursing as it once was and how it has evolved over the decades.  The Museum also features a display of nurses involved in wars, particularly WWI and WWII.

Nurses breaking with a cup of tea

Brisbane Hospital and Lady Lamington Nurses’ Home circa 1900

1882 Nurses and doctors

Nurses and doctors 1882

Our historical collection tells a unique story and includes:

  • Historical photographs of individual nurses, groups and graduations
  • Items of nursing and medical equipment
  • Uniforms, caps and aprons and badges
  • Furniture from nurses quarters
  • Diaries, competency and registration certificates, lecture notes, scrapbooks, poems and newspaper clippings
  • Texts, small reference books and nursing dictionaries

The Museum is located at Herston campus, Brisbane, in what was the former original infectious diseases ward (or fever ward) from 1875 and subsequently became female wards.  It is one of the heritage-listed buildings that exists on the campus.

Virtual tour of the Lady Lamington Buildings

Take a virtual tour of the Lady Lamington buildings. Take a look at some historical photos of the Lady Lamington buildings from an era when nurses once ‘lived in’ and a sneak peek of the transformation of these beautiful heritage-listed buildings.

The Museum is close to the historic Lady Lamington buildings which are central to the history of nursing at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and is where generations of nurses lived during their years of training.

The Museum is managed by the Royal Brisbane Hospital Nurses’ Association (Inc) and run by a team of passionate former nurses and volunteers. To find out about volunteering opportunities email: rbhnursesassn@gmail.com

In 2017, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital celebrated 150 years of care.  A selection of the Museum’s collection is on permanent display in the Level 1 Atrium at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

More information about the Museum is included in The Museum of Nursing History brochure.

Herston Heritage Trail

Nurses on the balconies of the Lady Lamington Nurses’ Home 1906

Nurses on the balconies of the Lady Lamington Nurses’ Home 1906

Heritage walks at Herston provide insight and stories of what once was. The Museum and the historic buildings of the Herston campus are key points of interest along the Herston heritage trail. To join in on a heritage trail and to learn about the heritage of the area contact rbhnursesassn@gmail.com.

Historical buildings

Generations of past and present nurses have a deep connection with the Lady Lamington buildings located on the RBWH campus. The Lady Lamington Nurses Home was the social epicentre of life as a resident nurse at RBWH. The Nurses’ Home included the staff dining room and recreational areas. The two eight-storey Lady Lamington towers were the former Nurses’ Quarters and are the earliest surviving nurses’ quarters in Queensland. The building’s foundation stone was laid by Lady Lamington, wife of the Governor on 14 September 1896.

Historical timeline

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  • 1867 – Horses and carts transport patients on Bowen Bridge Road

    1867 – Horses and carts transport patients on Bowen Bridge Road

    Horses and carts transport patients on Bowen Bridge Road.

  • 1888 – First nurses graduated from the hospital

    1888  – First nurses graduated from the hospital

    First nurses graduated from the hospital in 1888. Mary Elizabeth Weedon Superintendent of Nursing 1885-1890 and Dr Sanford Jackson set up the School of Nurses.

  • 1892 – First midwives commenced training

    1892 – First midwives commenced training

    First midwives commenced training.

  • 1919 – Nurse who looked after patients during the Spanish Flu pandemic

    1919 – Nurse who looked after patients during the Spanish Flu pandemic

    Nurses who looked after patients during the Spanish Flu pandemic.

  • 1938 – Nursing staff signing on for the first shift at the Royal Women’s Hospital

    1938 – Nursing staff signing on for the first shift at the Royal Women’s Hospital

    Nursing staff signing on for the first shift at the Royal Women’s Hospital.

  • 1938 – First baby born at Royal Women’s Hospital

    1938 – First baby born at Royal Women’s Hospital

    First baby born at Royal Women’s Hospital.

  • 1940 – Wartime nurses of the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Royal Women’s Hospital

    1940 – Wartime nurses of the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Royal Women’s Hospital

    Wartime nurses of the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Royal Women’s Hospital.

  • 1957 – Nurse graduates

    1957 – Nurse graduates

    Nurse graduates.

  • 1970s – Enrolled nurse training commenced at RBH and men were first accepted for nursing training in 1971

    1970s – Enrolled nurse training commenced at RBH and men were first accepted for nursing training in 1971

    1970s – Enrolled nurse training commenced at RBH and men were first accepted for nursing training in 1971

  • 1980s – University led training for nursing commenced in 1989

    1980s – University led training for nursing commenced in 1989

    1980s – University led training for nursing commenced in 1989

  • 1993 – Last nurses trainee graduation class recreation room in Lady Lamington Nurses’ Home

    1993 – Last nurses trainee graduation class recreation room in Lady Lamington Nurses’ Home

    Last nurses trainee graduation class recreation room in Lady Lamington Nurses’ Home.

  • 2017 – RBWH celebrating 150 years

    2017 – RBWH celebrating 150 years

    RBWH celebrating 150 years.

  • 2020 – Nurses play an important role on frontline to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic

    2020 – Nurses play an important role on frontline to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic

    2020 – Nurses play an important role on frontline to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic

The first hospital in Brisbane, the Moreton Bay General Hospital, was established in 1849 near the site of the present Supreme Court in the CBD. In 1867, a new hospital was built at Herston and patients were moved to the Brisbane Hospital.  The first nurses graduated from the hospital in 1888. Since that time, the hospital has provided training for thousands of nurses and midwives.

Visitor Information

Location

Building 19
RBWH
Cnr Butterfield St and
Bowen Bridge Rd
HERSTON QLD 4029
Email: rbhnursesassn@gmail.com

Opening times

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
10.00am–2.00pm
Visitors are requested to wear a mask.

Map

Location map and directions to the Museum from the RBWH Bus Station and closest car park.

Access

Stair access only. Please note that there is no wheelchair access available to enter the Museum building.

How to get here

Information about parking and transport options are available from the RBWH website.

By car

Paid car parking is available from car parking stations located around the campus.

Parking fees range from approximately $10-15 for the first hour.

The closest car park to the Museum is the Cornerstone Car Park located on Herston Rd.

By bus

There are two busways located nearby. The RBWH Busway (closest to the Museum) and the Herston Busway which are serviced by several bus routes including 66, 310, 330, 340 and 375 services.

For timetables, call TransLink on 131 230 or visit http://translink.com.au/.

Volunteers welcome

To become a volunteer at the Museum email rbhnursesassn@gmail.com.

Nurses’ Association

To support and become a member of the Royal Brisbane Hospital Nurses’ Association (Inc) email rbhnursesassn@gmail.com.

The Museum is a proud member of
Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network

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