• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE0971

Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

(From 1994 – )
  • Occupation Historical Landmark, Women's Services Provider


The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre was established in 1994 by an Act of Parliament, following the closure of the Queen Victoria Women’s Hospital in 1989. Community campaigning to save part of the site as a permanent monument to this historically significant landmark in Victorian women’s history, led by the Queen Victoria Hospital Action Group, was successful. The government agreed to hand over control of the central tower of the original building to the women of Victoria.

The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Act 1994 – administered by the Minister for Women’s Affairs, established the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Trust and provides for the management, operation and use of the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre and for the ownership of the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre land. The centre offers a range of services and exists ‘to provide a physical and virtual space for the women of Victoria to reach their full potential, bring about social change and provide opportunities for women to be inspired for the future’.


Community campaigning in the late 1980s to save part of the site was led by the Queen Victoria Hospital Action Group, incorporated to become Queen Victoria Hospital Action Group. When the Government agreed to preservation of part of the site as a women’s centre, the Action Group recommended to the then Premier, John Cain, that he request the Victorian Women’s Consultative Council (VWCC) to undertake consultation with women to establish how the site could best be utilised for them. Over 2000 women participated in the consultation process.

In 1991 the Queen Victoria Hospital Action Group incorporated to become the Queen Vic. Women’s Centre Inc. (the Inc. Group).

Premier Joan Kirner presented the Inc. Group with the VWCC’s final report in 1991 and provided funds for the group to develop an architectural brief. The Inc. Group also developed marketing, fundraising and enterprise development plans in relation to the Centre.

The coalition parties (liberal and national) and the Labor party agreed that after the closure of the hospital the centre tower of the building would be refurbished and handed over to the women of Victoria. The Minister of the day Hon Jane Wade made comment to Parliament in 1997 stating ‘The Cente is a unique facility for the women of Victoria and, as I said, the project has had the bipartisan support of parliament’. To honour this commitment the Kennett government and the then Minister for Womens affairs, the Hon Jan Wade, spent $4.7 million refurbishing the building and provided $1 million in seed funding to the Women’s Centre Trust to ensure the Centre could establish itself as a place for the women of Victoria.

In 2000 Minister Sherryl Garbutt, Victorian Minister for Women’s Affairs, established a Ministerial Advisory Committee to advise her on matters relating to the future of the QVWC. As part of that report to the Minister it was recommended that the Centre should develop and house a Central Information Hub and a Capacity Builder for women’s organisations as well as provide training and conference and meeting rooms.

Since that time the Centre has continued to be supported by the Office of Women’s Policy in all its development initiatives. It has recently received major funding from the Community Support Fund for the first stages of development of both its core programs and has been self-funding for the past two years.

The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre is part of the QV residential and business development. The city block bounded by Swanston, Russell, Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale Streets has six new laneways crossing it. They are:

Shilling Lane
The Queen Victoria Shilling Fund helped pay for the building that became the Queen Victoria Women’s Hospital.
Albert Coates Lane
Albert Coates was a leading surgeon at the Melbourne Hospital from 1927.
Artemis Lane
Artemis is the Greek goddess of the wildness and wild animals, who became known in cities as a goddess of fertility and childbirth.
Jane Bell Lane
Jane Bell was matron of the Melbourne Hospital from 1910-1934.
Red Cape Lane
Named for the distinctive red capes worn by nurses of the era.
Constance Stone Lane
Constance Stone was the first female registered as a doctor in Australia.

Published resources

Archival resources

  • Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre
    • Office of Major Projects [known as the Victorian Government Major Projects Unit 1987-1992]

Related entries

  • Related Women
    • Stone, Emma Constance (1856 - 1902)
    • Bell, Jane (1873 - 1959)
  • Related Organisations
    • Queen Victoria Hospital (1896 - 1977)
  • Chaired by
    • Baylor, Hilda Gracia (1929 - )