PERTH Children’s Hospital (PCH) started from the curiosity of a young girl in 1897 who was fascinated by an animated moneybox in a department store.
While waiting for her mother at Messrs Chas Moore & Co., the child played with the moneybox by putting pennies on the spring-loaded hand that flung them into the box.
When asked by the store owner Charles Moore what she wanted the money to go towards, the young girl said a children’s hospital.
WA did not have a dedicated hospital for children at the time, so Mr Moore formed a committee to raise funds to build one, starting with the three pennies donated by the child.
On June 30, 1908, the original hospital building on the corner of Roberts and Thomas roads in Subiaco, which is now called Godfrey House, opened its doors.
PCH Foundation spokeswoman Janmarie Michie said the original hospital was private, and run and funded by the committee.
It was called PCH until Princess Margaret visited in the 1950s, when it was renamed in her honour.
The Subiaco resident said the government took over the hospital in the ’90s and committee board members established the PMH Foundation in 1998 as a separate entity to raise additional funds.
Two decades on, the foundation has reverted back to the original hospital’s name and will mark its 20th anniversary by moving this month into the new PCH in Nedlands.
Ms Michie said the new location would mean the foundation would now operate from the hospital and run three areas, including Fun on Four, where Radio Lollipop and Captain Starlight will be based.
“The opening of the new hospital is very exciting because we’re all about supporting kids,” she said.
“We exist to fund new innovative equipment and groundbreaking research, the things that wouldn’t fall into the government’s existing budget.
“The hospital is a new facility and has a lot of new equipment in it but that equipment and medical technology develops fast, so we’re looking at establishing a future fund by looking at what long term needs of the hospital will be and how we as a foundation can help fund that.”
In the past 12 months the foundation has fundraised $4 million and committed an additional $25.46 million to longer term projects and initiatives at PCH over the next five years.
In 20 years, Ms Michie said PCH Foundation had funded several firsts in paediatric hospitals across the country, including a paediatric robotic arm in 2014 and a ReWalk machine that helped children gain movement.
“We are only able to do this because of the generosity of the community who gives us money,” she said.
“We regularly get children walking up the steps to our office wanting to donate a ziplock bag full of money they’ve earned from holding a lemonade stand or children who have had a birthday and instead of getting presents they’ve asked people to donate to the foundation.”
Ms Michie said it was with those acts of kindness that the foundation would continue to grow and support the hospital in helping sick children, just like the little girl did more than 120 years ago.