Demolishing the old Royal Children’s Hospital

I mentioned the former Royal Children’s Hospital building in a blog post last year titled ‘Abandoned hospitals of Melbourne‘ – so what has come of the site?

'Royal Children's Hospital' spelt out on the main building

Demolition of former hospital buildings commenced in July 2012, with the site consisting of four main buildings, as annotated below:

  • the main ‘H’ block (aqua)
  • the former nurses home, later known as the South East building (yellow)
  • main entrance building (red)
  • research building (lime green)

Aerial view of the former Royal Children's Hospital site in Melbourne

Of the above, only two of the newer buildings have been retained – the research building that has since been linked up to the new hospital complex next door, and the former entrance building on Flemington Road that will be incorporated into a new hotel development on the site.

Hiding the works was a blue painted plywood wall that encircled the side.

1960s cream brick wall around the former Royal Children's Hospital site

Behind the scenes the first victim was the former nurses home, a stand-alone building on the south east corner of the site, which by the time of closure had been converted into consulting rooms for medical specialists.

'South East Building' of the former Royal Children's Hospital

Demolition crews started on the two side wings of the building.

Down comes the former nurses home block

Then worked inwards towards the central lift core.

Worked stopped for the weekend at the former Royal Children's Hospital demolition site

Which was the last to come down.

Viewed from Royal Park - only the lift core remains of the nurses home

Next to be demolished was the ‘H’ block that formed the core of the hospital. The first stage was covering the entire northern facade with scaffolding.

Getting ready to demolish the main 'H' block

Demolition then started on the top levels of the northern wings.

North-west corner of the 'H' block coming down

A large mobile crane was needed to move demolition equipment to the upper floors of the building.

Demolition of the 'H' block continues

Work on this area was delicate due to the new Royal Children’s Hospital being right next door, so water misting was needed to keep the dust down.

Spraying water over the rubble to control the dust

Despite this, the resulting rubble was just pushed out the side of the building.

Pushing rubble out of the building

As work moved to the southern wings, the ‘H’ block was separated from the neighbouring research block that is being retained.

Almost all of the old 'H' block gone

By the time January 2013 was over, so was demolition of the former Royal Children’s Hospital, leaving just the entrance and research buildings.

Remains of the former hospital beside Royal Park, the new hotel still to come

The initial plan for the construction of the new Royal Children’s Hospital was that former hospital site would be restored as public space as part of Royal Park, but since then it has changed.

Stage 2 of the new Royal Children’s Hospital is still to come – involving the construction of an underground car park for 800 vehicles, a seven-storey hotel with 90 rooms, two gyms, small supermarket, childcare facilities, a hairdresser/beauty salon, post office, florist, dry cleaner, doctors consulting suites upstairs and three general retail outlets.

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5 Responses to “Demolishing the old Royal Children’s Hospital”

  1. Dave says:

    800 car spaces for that location seems excessive, unless the expectation is that Parkville station doesn’t get built…

  2. enno says:

    800 car spaces excessive ? Not as bad as a permanent parking nightmare for workers there and everybody else for 1 km around. When public transport is safe and convenient for shift workers, you may have a point. How late do bus services run in Melbourne ?

  3. Dave says:

    @enno – I don’t disagree hospital workers are more likely than most to need all-hours transport. But the 3 different tram lines run about 18 hours a day past the hospital precinct, and in about 10 years, probably a ‘metro-style’ station will be present too.

    There is also a lot of residential accomodation in the region – such that a good proportion of workers probably live relatively locally. Cycling is also a reasonable option around Parkville – it’s pretty flat in most directions for at least 5 km.

    It’s also not necessarily unreasonable if they charged ‘perfomance parking’ rates – but I’ll be disappointed if the pricing gets capped or otherwise artificially constrained, including for staff.

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