Dinner with the devil : women and Melbourne's Queen Vic : their pride and shame, joy and sorrow / Helen Macrae Macrae, Helen

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Macrae, Helen
Queen Victoria Medical Centre (Melbourne, Vic.); Women benefactors - Victoria - Melbourne.; Australian
In 1896 a small group of Melbourne's first women doctors opened a makeshift hospital in a borrowed church hall. They wanted to give poor women the opportunity of being treated by their own sex, and in the presence of women only. In the first few months they were overwhelmed by large numbers of outpatients. Leaders of Melbourne's suffragist movement came to their aid. They asked all women in the colony of Victoria to donate a shilling so the doctors could have a building of their own with wards and an operating theatre. Funds poured in, even though Victoria was in the middle of its worst depression. The Shilling Fund made enough money for the doctors to buy a building outright and fit it out as a hospital. The Queen Victoria Hospital was the only general hospital for women in Australia. It became a much loved Melbourne icon, but was forced to surrender the 'for women, by women' vision of its founders in the 1950s and 1960s. The Victorian government closed the Queen Vic at the end of 1986. Women's organisations started a heroic struggle to keep three towers on the Queen Vic site in the hands of the women of Victoria. They salvaged a single tower from a whole city block of hospital buildings. That tower now houses the Queen Victoria Women's Centre. This is the story of the hospital, the campaign and the tower. A fascinating story about women with a common goal, who achieved more than they thought possible, and built skills, lasting friendships and respect.
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