Mater people

You are here:

Home > About > History > Building a better future > 1982–2006


Redeveloping Mater Private

Mater Children's HospitalContinual work was necessary to keep the old Mater Private Hospital building in working order. In 1982 the roof was leaking, more ensuite bathrooms were badly needed and the hospital did not have an adequate isolation area.

In January 1988, the Sisters took the momentous decision to build a new Private Hospital in Vulture Street. The building, designed by Brisbane architects, Peddle Thorp and constructed by Baulderstone Hornibrook, proceeded very quickly and the new Mater Private Hospital and Medical Centre was officially opened in 1993. 

Focusing on research

By the mid 1990s, plans were being made to establish a first class research facility on Mater campus. A world-wide search was launched for a leading scientist to direct Mater Research, culminating in the appointment of Professor Derek Hart.

While working as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford in 1979, Prof Hart discovered dendritic cells—specialised white blood cells that play a critical role in initiating immune response. A precise understanding of their function was his next target. Effective cancer immunotherapy through manipulation of stem cells has become a central Mater Research goal since it was opened by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir William Deane, in 1999. Since then, Mater Research has successfully attracted international scientists and funding to its many research projects.

Expanding to Redland Bay

During the 1990’s, Queensland Health adopted the concept of collocating private hospitals with public healthcare facilities on government sites. This policy offered Mater an opportunity to establish a hospital away from the South Brisbane site. 

During 1999, construction began on the seventh hospital in Mater's family—Mater Private Hospital Redland. The 50 bed private hospital, which provides medical, surgical and obstetric services to the ever growing population of Redland Bay, was officially opened by the Governor, Major-General Peter Arnison, AC and blessed by the Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Reverend John Bathersby, DD in 2000.

An era of change for the Children’s Hospital

As a specialist referral centre for young patients from all over Queensland, northern New South Wales and beyond, Mater Children’s Hospital faced increasing pressure on its services during the latter part of the 1980s and early 1990s. With the population of Brisbane’s southern suburbs predicted to grow by 15.6% by Mater’s Centenary year, 2006, this demand would only increase. In order to relieve that strain and ensure it was well equipped to face the medical challenges of the 21st century, Mater committed to constructing two new Children's Hospitals for privately insured and non-insured patients.

The new facility—built on Stanley Street South Brisbane—is the most advanced paediatric hospital in Australia, designed to meet the requirements of both the child and their family. The Hospitals were officially opened by the Governor, Major-General Peter Arnison, AC and blessed by the Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Reverend John Bathersby, DD on 16 May 2001.

A first for Children’s Hospitals

The idea of a Mater Children’s Private Hospital, first mooted in 1977, became a reality in 1998 when Mater opened the first dedicated private children’s hospital in Australia. The new 25 bed hospital, based on a seaside theme, was bright and cheerful and each patient's room had its own computer with internet access.