Our History


The Royal Hospital for Women has an incredible history dating back to the beginning of the Colony of New South Wales; when the Benevolent Society established a Female Committee in October 1820 to provide care to poor married women during pregnancy, labour and after the birth of their baby.

The Royal Hospital for Women has been one of Australia’s foremost specialist hospitals for women and babies, since its early beginnings as New South Wales first ‘lying-in’ hospital for women in 1866. As a principal teaching hospital of the University of NSW in the fields of obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology the Royal has a history of innovation in women’s health care services, teaching and research.

In 1992 the Benevolent Society of NSW withdrew from the management of the Royal Hospital for Women. A Deed of Agreement between the Society, the Minister for Health (on behalf of the Crown) and the Eastern Sydney Area Health Service formed the basis for the transfer of the Royal to become an incorporated hospital of the Eastern Sydney Area Health Service. Amongst other conditions, the Deed enabled the Royal Hospital for Women to remain on the Paddington site for 5 years from June 30, 1992 with a one year extension at a commercial lease rate.

The then Minister for Health The Hon Mr Ron Phillips, following a community consultative process, announced the relocation of the Royal Hospital for Women to a new $40 million purpose built hospital at Randwick.

In 2004 we celebrated the centenary of the Royal warrant being conferred on the Hospital and being officially known as the Royal Hospital for Women, or more affectionately “The Royal”.

Throughout it’s growth the RHW has called a few places home : Pitt Street Sydney, Paddington and Randwick. The staff members of the Royal Hospital for Women are honoured to have been warmly welcomed to Randwick in 1997, by the traditional land owners the Eora people and are grateful for their continued support.


Since our pioneer beginnings until present day we have celebrated many incredible milestones.

Some of our milestones include:

  • founding the first “lying-in” hospital in Australia;
  • opening Australia's first cancer detection clinic;
  • establishing the first diagnostic ultrasound service in Australia;
  • performing the first successful fetal transfusion in Australia;
  • achieving the world's first fetal cardiac ultrasound;
  • accomplishing the world’s first head (cranial) ultrasound of a newborn baby;
  • establishing first menopause centre in NSW;
  • having the longest continuous running antenatal clinic in the world;
  • performing the world’s first operation to save a baby's life while still in utero;
  • opening the first comprehensive gynaecological cancer centre in Australia;
  • establishing MotherSafe, the first telephone counselling service in Australia advising on medications in pregnancy and lactation; and
  • performing the first fetal muscle biopsy in Australia.