Our Heritage

St Vincent’s Health Australia   

We are part of St Vincent's Health Australia – the nation's largest Catholic not-for-profit health and aged care provider. St Vincent’s Health Australia was established in 1857, following the opening of our first hospital in Sydney by the Sisters of Charity. The legacy entrusted to us by the Sisters of Charity continues to inspire our mission.


Sisters of Charity

Just because it has not been done before is no reason why it should not be done now.
- Mary Aikenhead, Foundress of the Sisters of Charity 

Our story is part of a larger legacy that begins with one inspirational woman, Mother Mary Aikenhead. A woman who saw the plight of people who were poor and suffering. Through her great faith and trust in Divine Providence, she founded the Sisters of Charity to serve and bring hope to those most in need.

The Sisters of Charity are a religious congregation within the Catholic Church. They were founded in Ireland by Mary Aikenhead in 1815. Five Sisters traveled to Australia in 1838 and progressively established hospitals and schools to help those in need of care and education. 

St Vincent’s Health Australia has grown to encompass a diverse range of health services including acute medical and surgical services, emergency and critical care, aged and sub-acute care, diagnostics, mental health, correctional health, palliative care, residential care, research and education.

Collectively St Vincent’s Health Australia facilities deliver compassionate and high quality services that perpetuate the vision of our foundress, Mary Aikenhead. 


St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane

Our Hospital was gifted to the Sisters of Charity by Miss Mary Bedford in honour of her good friend Dr Lilian Cooper. Dr Lilian Cooper was the first woman doctor registered in Queensland. It was Miss Mary Bedford’s wish to establish a hospice for the sick and vulnerable. 

Our foundation stone was laid in 1954 by the then Archbishop of Brisbane, James Duhig. The building subsequently opened in 1957 (then known as Mt Olivet Hospital) with Mother Giovanni Ackman appointed as our first Hospital Administrator. Through the valiant fundraising efforts of Mother Giovanni Ackman and her supporters, our Hospital was established and remains significant in the delivery of healthcare to the community. 

Today, we serve as St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane, continuing in the footsteps of those pioneering women, inspired by their Spirit. We are Queensland’s largest specialist palliative care service provider. We innovate and lead highly specialised medical services for people with chronic, complex and multiple health needs and reach out to support refugees and people who are homeless or at risk in our community.

We are part of the legacy of the Sisters of Charity and continue their commitment to the healing ministry of Jesus under the auspice of Mary Aikenhead Ministries. They form our values today and are a solid and unshakeable foundation of our health service.

Our Hospital remains true to the vision of its founders. St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane underwent major redevelopment in 2010 and there are plans to continue expanding our services. 


Did you know…

  • Our foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Duhig. Upon his death, he was the longest serving bishop in the Catholic Church (48 years).
  • Our first Hospital Administrator, Mother Giovanni Ackman, was a dedicated fundraiser. She won the hearts of many in her crusade for funding. Our chapel is named in her honour.
  • In our first state-wide doorknock appeal in 1959, we raised $30,000 British Pounds. People donated crockery, clothing, furniture and even a London Taxi!
  • Our first hospice palliative unit was established in 1981. Sister Colleen McDonald, R.S.C and Mary Ferguson were the first home care workers.
  • Sister Nola Riley was our Hospital Administrator from 1979 to 1992. Under her guidance, the hospice transformed into an integrated model of care. Our beautiful garden facing the Brisbane River is named in her honour.
  • Our name change from Mt Olivet Hospital to St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane in 2009 marked the end of an era. It represented our new journey and shift to stewardship by Mary Aikenhead Ministries on behalf of the Sisters of Charity.
  • The name St Vincent’s is taken from a hospital in Ireland, which the Sisters of Charity founded in 1834. The hospital was named in honour of St Vincent’s de Paul, the patron Saint of Charitable Societies.
  • We are Queensland’s largest provider of palliative care services.
  • We are the only hospital in Queensland to offer adolescent pain management programs.