Over the decades, the Aikenhead Wing was home to thousands of
St Vincent’s nurses as they underwent their training. For more than 30 years, the building’s primary purpose was nurses’ accommodation with 350 bedrooms, training facilities, nurses' chapel, and a dining room.
The Aikenhead building is now being demolished to make way for the extablishment of the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD).
The St Vincent’s Foundation is offering an exclusive opportunity to own a piece of St Vincent’s history, a brick from the original Aikenhead Wing. Meg Bayley and Zoe O'Callaghan were quick to take up this special opportunity and are both now proud owners of this unique piece of memorabilia.
Meg and Zoe both did their nursing training at St Vincent’s, spending three years living on site. Meg recalls that the nicest part of living and training on site was the people. “The other girls you trained with made it memorable and enjoyable. I remember we would often sit on the floor in the corridors, chatting and gossiping.”
Lifelong friendships were made because they all shared some much during their time living, training and working together.
“You’re thrown together and through thick and thin you support each other, sharing disasters, sometimes sadness but more often joy. I have four friends I trained with that I’m still in constant contact with 56 years later,” Meg said.
First photo: This is the graduation of Meg's group in 1969. Meg is front row, second from right in glasses.
Second photo - This was taken in 2016 at the 50th anniversary of their graduation - Meg is middle back.
Zoe remembers her first day at St Vincent’s as a fairly daunting experience. “I was just 18 and a fairly naïve girl from country NSW. My parents dropped me at the Aikenhead building and I didn’t know a soul!
On the very first day I met six girls who I bonded with straight away. We still laugh about the very first day and just how lucky we were to meet.
“That was way back in 1974 and we are still extremely close. Every year we get together on 27 November.
First photo: Zoe and her nursing colleagues hard at work.
Second photo - Zoe on her Nursing Graduation Day.
Even though both Meg and Zoe ended up following different work paths beyond nursing, Meg became a Diabetes Educator and Zoe a Doctor of Anthropology, they still maintain a strong connection to St Vincent’s.
All funds raised from the sale of the bricks go directly towards supporting scholarships for St Vincent’s nurses. This was a particularly compelling reason for both Zoe and Meg to make their purchase. It will also be a lovely memento to symbolise those formative years they both spent living at Aikenhead, learning, growing and forming true friendships.
A very special gift
Meg has also chosen to purchase a brick to give to her cousin, Christine Holland, as a gift when Meg realised Christine had devoted 40 years of her life to St Vincent’s. For many years, she was the Nurse Unit Manager in charge of the Neurology Ward at St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Fitzroy.
“Christine deserves her name on a brick because she’s put her heart and soul into helping people her whole life. She was responsible for the wellbeing of thousands of people over the years, that’s an amazing achievement,” Meg said.
Christine said providing clinical leadership to deliver excellent and compassionate care to her patients was a driving force for her. “I encouraged nurses to undertake post graduate studies and to do research. Some, including myself, won academic awards and published their work.
“Some people work out of necessity but I can say I love my work.”
How to Buy a Brick
Bricks can be engraved with your name or the name of a loved one or friend, making them an ideal gift.
Payment instalment options are available. Please contact St Vincent’s Foundation to discuss on 9231 3365 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This rare opportunity can’t last!
Click here to purchase a brick today.