Our history

On 4 January 1906, the Sisters of Mercy opened a 20-bed private hospital in a former residential home in Brisbane’s North Quay. This was the first Mater Private Hospital, and it would be the foundation of a tradition of Mercy which continues to guide Mater today, more than 110 years later. The story of Mater’s development—from a house in North Quay to an organisation comprising hospitals, health centres, a world-class research institute and nationally accredited education centre— is one of hardship, adversity, triumphs and compassion, characterised at all times by a commitment to care.

Catherine McAuley establishes the Sisters of Mercy.


The first Sisters of Mercy arrive in Brisbane.


A private house in Brisbane’s North Quay, named Aubigny, is converted into a 20-bed private hospital.


Mater Private Hospital opens on ‘Mater Hill’. The 50-bed hospital still stands (now as Aubigny Place).


A new Chapel and Convent building is attached to the western end of Mater Private Hospital. The Convent remained a residence for the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation until 2014.


The 80-bed Mater Children’s Hospital opens, with every bed immediately occupied.


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 Faculty of Medicine.


Mater holds Queensland’s first real estate art union. First prize is a two-bedroom fibro house in Surfers Paradise, valued at A£4150.


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


The Multidisciplinary Growth and Development Clinic, which evaluates progress of infants born weighing less than 1500 grams opens.


The new Mater Adult Hospital opens. Mother Teresa visits Mater.


Mater Health Services Governing Board, empowered to develop policy and make decisions for the hospitals, replaces the Advisory Board. The first lay Chief Executive Officer, Mr Pat McGuire, is appointed.


Mater Hospitals’ Trust (now Mater Foundation) is launched to raise community support to fund research projects, capital works and medical and research equipment. Mater Private Priority Emergency Centre—the first in any Queensland private hospital—opens.


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


The new Mater Private Hospital Brisbane and Medical Centre officially opens.


The Mater Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine is established to provide expert diagnosis and management of complex obstetric cases.


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


Mater Medical Research Institue is opened by His Excellency, Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia. Professor Derek Hart is appointed the inaugural Institute Director.


Mater Private Hospital Redland officially opens.


Mater is formally incorporated as Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane. A new Mater Children’s Hospital and Mater Children’s Private Hospital opens on Stanley Street.


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


Mater Private Rehabilitation Unit (now Mater Private Hospital Annerley Road campus) opens.


Mater celebrates 100 years of exceptional care.


The new Mater Mothers’ Hospitals officially opens. The Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Service transitions to Mater Children’s Hospital.


Mater Cancer Care Centre opens.


After providing exceptional care to Queensland children for more than 83 years, Mater Children’s Hospital closes, and government-funded paediatric services transitioned to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.


Mater Private Hospital Springfield is officially opened. The Mater Centre for Neurosciences opens, providing specialist care for stroke, epilepsy, neurosurgery, neurology and spinal surgery. Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane is launched.


The transformation of Mater’s heritagelisted Whitty Building into a world-class health education precinct is completed.

To better reflect Mater’s integration of health, education and research, Mater’s legal name changes to Mater Misericordiae Brisbane Limited. Mater Health Services becomes ‘Mater Group’, incorporating Mater Health, Mater Education, Mater Research and Mater Foundation.

Read more about Mater’s exceptional history at history.mater.org.au