The Cabrini story in Australia began on 24 January 1948, when 10 Sisters arrived in Melbourne. They had travelled from Italy to take over St Benedict’s, a small hospital in Malvern, on invitation from Archbishop Mannix.
It was a rudimentary beginning in a new country, and the Sisters worked hard to establish a functional hospital.
Those Sisters laid the foundation for a small suburban hospital, which would go on to become one of Victoria’s largest Catholic healthcare services.
Within 10 years, they had commissioned and built the distinctive cream-brick hospital which became an integral part of the Malvern community.
Cabrini has seen enormous change since those humble beginnings.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini Hospital in Malvern was officially opened on 11 May 1958 by Archbishop of Melbourne, His Excellency, Monsignor Mannix. At this time, it was the largest private hospital in Victoria with a capacity of 140 beds.
With weeks, Cabrini Malvern welcomed its first baby, aptly named Francesca. The modest hospital quickly doubled in size by 1961.
Today, the original building stands proudly alongside the Cabrini Gandel Wing, build in 2019. Together, the two buildings represent Cabrini’s proud history and our ongoing commitment to providing the highest quality of care to our community.
From Cabrini’s first open heart surgery in 1985 to the introduction of cutting-edge clinical trials and research, we have celebrated major medical milestones over the years.
Cabrini Research was established in 1996 – known at the time as Cabrini Clinical Education and Research Foundation – to foster and encourage a culture of research, and to support Cabrini to continue attracting the best clinicians.
In the same year, Cabrini Foundation was established to manage the philanthropic support that enables us to fund new projects, vital medical equipment and technology, clinical education, clinical and translational research, and major building and redevelopment works.
As Cabrini grew, smaller sites were established in surrounding suburbs to meet different specialised care needs.
Cabrini Prahran housed our Palliative and Supportive Care unit for more than two decades, with the service recently relocated to Malvern. This unique service continues to anticipate and respond to the individual needs of patients living with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families.
At Cabrini Ashwood, we were proud to build an exceptional aged care home, where we provided quality, compassionate care to residents and their families between 2001 and 2022.
In 2002, Cabrini Brighton was purchased to operate as a second, smaller acute hospital for Cabrini. Embraced by the bayside community, the Brighton hospital has grown in size and services offered.
Cabrini Technology Group (CTG) was formed in 2014, and today operates in 18 locations within Australia and New Zealand, employing 550 staff. CTG provides world-class support for technology used in healthcare, disability, government and enterprise for more than 700 organisations.
Cabrini Outreach, our social services arm, was established to address social disadvantage in Australian and overseas, and its flagship services, the Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub, opened in Brunswick in 2016. The hub provides comprehensive primary health care and specialist mental health services to people seeking asylum who are Medicare-ineligible or who have Medicare but no income.
Since early 2020, Cabrini has played an integral role in the state-wide response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, we have balanced caring for COVID-19 patients with the need to continue delivering essential care and services.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, Cabrini continued to find innovative new ways to meet unmet needs in our community.
In 2021, Cabrini opened Australia’s first women’s-only private mental health hospital, offering a nurturing and respectful place where women can feel safe and supported as they embark on their recovery journey. Located in the Lisa Thurin Women’s Health Centre in Elsternwick, this inpatient unit offers treatment underpinned by compassion and kindness – the Cabrini way.
Cabrini grew further with the addition of specialist centres in Hawthorn East and Elsternwick, enabling easy access to consultants for patients in areas adjacent to Cabrini’s major hospitals.
Inspired by the mission and ethic of care of the Cabrini Sisters, and our values of courage, respect, compassion and integrity, Cabrini Health has been providing high quality, compassionate care to our community for 75 years.
Today, it takes a dedicated team of more than 4,300 staff, more than 1,200 visiting medical offers and almost 300 volunteers to proudly continue Cabrini Sisters’ legacy.
We are blessed to have generous donors whose contribution enables Cabrini to maintain state-of-the-art facilities and services.
Together, we care for more than 86,000 patients each year, and this number continues to grow.
Our highly-skilled staff and specialists incorporate clinical research, innovative models of care and state-of-the-art technology to deliver the best possible care and outcomes for our patients.
In recognition of the the centenary of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini MSC (1850-1917), Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants and founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a prominent 7.4 metre monument named Vigil – The heart of Cabrini was erected. This was made possible thanks to the support of the Cabrini Italians of Melbourne, who formed in 2017 to strengthen ties to the Italian community and highlight the importance of Cabrini’s Italian heritage.
In 2023, we celebrate 75 years since the arrival of the Cabrini Sisters and the establishment of our diverse organisation.
The Sisters could not have imagined that their small hospital would evolve to become one of Melbourne’s leading private healthcare services, and we are proud to continue their legacy.
We look forward to sharing more of our Cabrini story with you during our 75th anniversary year.