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Mother Theresa visit1831–2005


Irish woman Catherine McAuley founds the Sisters of Mercy—a group of "walking nuns" dedicated to the care of the sick and needy.

May 10 1861

The first Sisters of Mercy arrive in Brisbane—then a rough, sparsely populated colonial town.


The Sisters of Mercy secure the site at South Brisbane now known as Mater Hill, at a cost of A£7000, with a view to building a hospital in the future.

January 4 1906

A private house, named Aubigny in North Quay, Brisbane, is converted into a 20 bed private hospital. In its first year, the hospital treats 141 patients.

May 24 1908

Cardinal Moran of Sydney lays the Foundation Stone for Mater Private Hospital at South Brisbane, at a ceremony attended by 12 000 people. The resulting 50 bed hospital still stands on the top of Mater Hill.

August 1910

Mater Private Hospital at South Brisbane, named Aubigny Place after the first hospital at North Quay, is blessed by Cardinal Moran and opened by Queensland Governor, Sir William MacGregor.

February 1911

The new 40 bed Mater Public Hospital opens, supported by fundraising and the proceeds generated by Mater Private Hospital.

July 1912

Mater’s public outpatients’ department opens, treating 1440 people in its first six months.


To ensure an adequate supply of nurses with appropriate qualifications, Mater Public Hospital establishes a formal training school for lay nurses. The first 14 lay probationers enter the training school in 1914. Sisters of Mercy nurses are trained separately at Mater Private.


The Labor Government announces that Mater Public will receive part proceeds from the government's Golden Casket Art Union on the same basis as other public hospitals.


A new chapel and convent building is attached to the western end of the Private Hospital.

July 1931

The 80 bed Mater Children’s Hospital, named after Mother Patrick Potter, opens.


Brisbane Lawyer, John P Kelly, is appointed as Chairman of the newly established Mater Medical Board.

May 1948

Mater Mothers’ Hospital foundation stone is blessed by Cardinal Spellman of New York and Archbishop Duhig of Brisbane.


Mater is recognised as a teaching hospital for doctors and becomes a clinical school for the University of Queensland's new Faculty of Medicine.


Mater runs Queensland’s first real estate art union. The Mater Home Art Union's first prize is a two-bedroom fibro house in Surfers Paradise, valued at A£4150.


The Medical School building is completed.

December 1960

Mater Mothers’ Hospital, accommodating 140 mothers, officially opens.

February 1961

Mater Mothers’ Hospital welcomes its first babies. A further 2996 babies were born in the hospital's first year of operation.


First intake of midwifery students.


Teaching research unit built for Mater Mothers’ Hospital.


Health Minister, Sir Llewellyn Edwards, announces A$18 million in government funding to rebuild Mater Adult Public Hospital.


Mater’s Intensive and Special Care Nurseries open.

April 1978

The NETS, was formally inaugurated when twins were transported from Toowoomba.


The Multidisciplinary Growth and Development Clinic opens. The Clinic evaluates the progress of infants born weighing less than 1500 grams and babies whose lives depended on a respirator.


Reg Leonard House, an accommodation facility for regional and rural patients and their families, opens.


New Mater Adult Public Hospital opens.


Mother Theresa visits Mater.


John P Kelly Research Foundation established.


Mater Hospitals appointed official hospital for World Expo 88.


Mater Health Services Governing Board, empowered to develop policy and make decisions for the hospitals, replaces the Advisory Board. In response to the changing roles of the Sisters, and to develop succession planning, the first lay Chief Executive Officer, Mr Pat McGuire, is appointed.


The Queensland Radium Institute at Mater is built.


Plans for a new Mater Private Hospital are announced.

April 1989

Mater Hospitals’ Trust (now called the Mater Foundation) launched to raise community support to fund research projects, capital works and medical and research equipment.

September 1989

Mater Private Priority Emergency Centre—the first in any Queensland private hospital—opens.


Ronald McDonald House opens.


Mater Mothers’ Hospital New Life Centre, comprising new operating theatres, labour wards, a birthing centre and new special care nurseries, opens.


A day care oncology centre for radiation therapy and chemotherapy opens in the old Mater Public Adult Hospital.


The redevelopment of Mater Mothers’ Private Hospital is completed.


Mater comes under pressure to move Mater Children’s Hospital to the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital at Mt Gravatt and the Sisters successfully fight to keep the Children’s Hospital with the rest of the Mater family at South Brisbane.


The new Mater Private Hospital and Medical Centre officially opened.


Mater Mothers' Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine established, providing care for women and their babies before birth.


Queensland Cord Blood Bank established at Mater.


Australia's first private paediatric facility, Mater Children’s Private Hospital, opens.

July 1998

Mater Research welcomes its first professor, Derek Hart.


Paediatric Epilepsy Centre at Mater opens.


Queensland Diabetes Centre at Mater opens.


Mater Research opened by His Excellency, Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia.


Mater Private Hospital Redland blessed by the Most Reverend John Bathersby, DD, Archbishop of Brisbane and officially opened by His Excellency Major-General Peter Arnison, AC, Governor of Queensland.

July 2001

Mater is formally incorporated as Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane, one of the last Catholic hospitals in Australia to be incorporated.


A new Mater Children’s Hospital and Mater Children’s Private Hospital is built in Stanley Street, South Brisbane and blessed by the Most Reverend John Bathersby, DD, Archbishop of Brisbane and officially opened by His Excellency Major-General Peter Arnison, AC, Governor of Queensland.


Mater Private Hospital commissions its ninth operating theatre. The theatre, which was the only one of its kind in Australia, is equipped with video technology that allows surgeons to watch operations performed by visiting international specialists. It also enables teleconference links to any teleconferencing venue in the world.


Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, launches Mater Prostate Cancer Research Centre, thanks to a A$1 million donation by Brisbane businessman, Bill Siganto.


Mater Private Rehabilitation Unit opens.


Mater Health Services announces its intention to build a new Mater Mothers’ Hospital to provide the maternity services required for Queensland's growing population. Mater Adult Hospital will also be extensively refurbished. The Queensland Government commits A$111 million funding to the project.


Mater Health Services commence work on the Mater Redevelopment project, the new Mater Mothers’ Hospital and refurbishment of Mater Adult Hospital.


The new Mater Mothers' Hospitals are officially opened and commence caring for women and their babies from Wednesday 4 June.