Remembering Aikenhead

This year marks an exciting new chapter for the Aikenhead building. Demolition of the building will commence in 2021. Taking its place will be Australia’s first biomedical engineering centre, ACMD.

As we say goodbye to the Aikenhead Wing, it is important to acknowledge the special place the building holds in the hearts of thousands of our current and former nurses. If you have a special memory, we invite you to share it with us, along with your favourite photos, to commemorate your time at the Aikenhead Wing.


The Aikenhead Wing has stood at the corner of Victoria Parade and Nicholson Street for more than 60 years and holds special memories for many members of St Vincent's community. And for more than 30 years, the building’s primary purpose was nurses’ accommodation.

It was built as a Nurses' Home in the era when nurses in training lived on site, providing 350 bedrooms, training facilities, nurses' chapel, and dining room. Bedrooms were kitted out with built-in wardrobe and dressing table, divan type bed, arm chair and a stool which doubled as a laundry box. The curtains and bedspreads had varied designs to provide some individuality. 

In the 1990s with general nurse training moving to the tertiary sector, the building was repurposed - mainly to administrative and storage use. Over the years it has housed, among others, Archives and Heritage, Art, Artist in Residence studios, Cafe, Childcare Centre, Dermatology, Gym, Health Information Services, Human Resources, IT, lecture theatre and meeting rooms, Nurse Education, Payroll, Research Governance and Switch.

Fast facts

  • Named after: Mother Mary Aikenhead, founder of the Religious Sisters of Charity
  • Part of major construction works on the hospital campus (and in wider Melbourne) in the post war boom years
  • First occupied: 1956 (when the upper floors were still under construction)
  • Official opening: 9 October 1960 (concurrent with the opening of the Daly Wing)
  • Cost: £1.12 million

Historical images: SVHM Archives & Heritage Centre collection

Outpatients waiting in Brenan Hall in the 1920s

Nurses Home china plate.

Aikenhead under construction in 1955

Excerpt from nurse recruitment brochure circa 1967. 

Fitzroy Campus Plan circa 1962

Classroom instruction in the Nurses Training School 1974

New Beginnings

ACMD is a bold initiative to create the first hospital-based, world-class biomedical innovation Centre in Australia. This state-of-the-art facility will allow researchers to accelerating previously unimaginable discoveries in biomedical engineering. These innovative research projects will improve the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of human disease.

Please share your Aikenhead memories and stories

To celebrate Aikenhead, please share your special memories and photos with us. We will publish your stories and photos on this website page and preserve them in the collection of SVHM Archives. There are also plans to create a special presentation to commemorate this landmark building. Stay tuned for more information and details about 2021 celebratory events.

Please share your stories – up to 300 words in length - and photos.

We would love to share your story on our website and social media pages. However, please tick the box above if you do not want your story shared.


St Vincent's Foundation
Ground floor
Rear, 55 Victoria Parade
Fitzroy, Victoria 3065