About Us

The Rise of Sydney Eye Hospital

The Sydney Eye Hospital

The Sydney Eye Hospital, established in 1882, is the largest eye hospital in the southern hemisphere. The hospital was originally the ophthalmic department of the old Sydney ‘Infirmary’ (Sydney Hospital), which was founded with the settlement of the Colony in 1788.

The Ophthalmic Department later transferred to a new site at Millers Point (The Rocks), which consisted of three historic residential houses known as ‘Moorcliff’. The department then became known as The Moorcliff Ophthalmic Branch of Sydney Hospital.

In 1790 with the arrival of the second fleet, a prefabricated hospital was erected on the western shores of Sydney – Drawing by Simon Fieldhouse

The General Hospital, Macquarie Street

The General Hospital, Macquarie Street, was erected by Governor Macquarie 1811-1816.  Known as The Rum Hospital, it was demolished in 1879 and replaced with the present Macquarie Street buildings – Drawing by Simon Fieldhouse

Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital

Australia’s First Hospital

Australia’s First Hospital, written by Caroline Wilkinson, tells the stories from starting as a tent hospital with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 to the current working hospital known as Sydney and Sydney Eye Hospital.

Australia's First Hospital

Australia’s first hospital has never closed its doors and is a landmark heritage site with a rich history. As a volunteer guide for over 25 years, Caroline has shared the hospital’s story with fascinated visitors, now compiled in Australia’s First Hospital.

The book captures the history and the passionate and dedicated stories of the people, including the birthplace of Australian nursing, to the tireless volunteers and Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation plus the famous Il Porcellino wild boar sculpture on Macquarie Street.

The soft cover picture book includes drawings by artist Simon Fieldhouse and all proceeds raise funds for Friends of Sydney Hospital (FOSH).

Buy online for delivery Australia wide. Local Pick-up from the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation office – Centre Block Sydney and Sydney Eye Hospital, 8 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000. The foundation is open from 9am- 5pm, Monday – Friday.

The Woolloomooloo site


In 1995, with the help of the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation, Sydney Eye Hospital moved to a brand new Clinical Services building costing $34 million within the grounds of Sydney Hospital. This move saw the reunification of the two hospitals and a name change to ‘Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital’


The Foundation as well as providing $3 million to the cost of the new building, was very active in lobbying various governments in a changing period of health provision in the public hospital area.

Additionally the Foundation provided another $2 million towards the purchase of specialised equipment, and funded a variety of research projects into the prevention of blindness.

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