06 July 2016

KEMH celebrates a century of special deliveries

  • WA's only tertiary women's hospital
  • More than 300,000 babies born at KEMH in its 100 years
  • Home to the southern hemisphere's largest neonatal intensive care unit

More than 300,000 West Australians have been born at King Edward Memorial Hospital since it opened its doors on July 6, 1916 and today it celebrates a special birthday of its own as it turns 100.

Leading the celebrations today, Health Minister John Day said the hospital held a special place in the hearts of West Australians from across the State.

"King Edward Memorial Hospital has been a vital and enduring part of our community for a century," Mr Day said.

"Even though it's best known as the place where families are created, it also provides a vital service for women with gynaecological conditions and is a world leader in its care for sick and premature babies.

"I congratulate all those who work or who have ever worked at King Edward Memorial Hospital on this fantastic achievement and the contribution you have made to the success of the service over the years."

The hospital - affectionately known across the State as 'King Eddie's' - was Western Australia's first maternity hospital and remains the only tertiary women's hospital in WA.

"In its first year, KEMH delivered 304 babies but today almost 6,000 babies are born at the hospital each year, accounting for 20 per cent of all births in WA," the Minister said.

"In addition, KEMH cares for about 5,000 women with gynaecological conditions each year, including cancers, and provides intensive care for more than 2,800 sick and premature babies in its neonatal intensive care units."

KEMH milestones:

  • On September 25, 1949 a record 24 babies were born at KEMH in 24 hours. In 2016, the average number of babies born each day at the hospital is 16
  • In 1989, Australia's first set of quintuplets were born at KEMH. In January 2016, a second set of quintuplets were born at the hospital
  • In 2006, KEMH opened the world's first human milk bank which provides more than 1,000 litres of donor milk to unwell babies
  • In 2008, the role of 'matron' was occupied by a male for the first time in the history of the hospital. The role is now referred to as Director of Midwifery, Nursing and Patient Support Services. 

Fact File

  • In 2002, the iconic Art Deco KEMH building on Bagot Road and original hospital site, 'Harvey House' on Barker Road, were placed on the State Register of Heritage Places
  • For more information, visit http://www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au

Minister's office - 6552 6200