Saying goodbye to Melbourne’s History

Category:
Author: Saacha Neilson
Date: April 12, 2021

Melbourne’s skyline has changed a lot over the decades. We had the privilege to film the latest of those changes; the closure of St Vincent’s Aikenhead wing. A building of a by-gone era, beloved by any who had the pleasure to walk it's halls.

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Nursing students relaxing in the bathroom, 1984

It is often difficult to articulate the emotional tie one can have with a building. Be it your childhood home, your favourite cafe as a teenager, the first building you worked in. These locations become tied with our story. And for many, the Aikenhead building at St Vincent's Hospital was an indelible mark on their youth and their journey into the working world.

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Students relaxing after a day of studying

Throughout the past 60’s, the Aikenhead building has served as the home and school for the up and coming nurses of Melbourne. For many of them, this sanctuary was their first home away from home. Its well-worn halls provided the opportunity for personal growth, independence and brand new life experiences.

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Carmel was one of these young students living under the Aikenhead roof. Enthusiastic and ready to help her community, she decided to become a nurse. Before her arrival, Carmel decided she was also ready to join the world of adult relationships. Of the three young men living at Aikenhead at the time, David Cotter was her favourite. 30 years later, Carmel and David Cotter are happily married and can look back at Aikenhead as not only the start of their careers but their marriage. 

The video takes a tour of the old facility, basking in the old architecture, the religious sculptures, and the stained glass. It was a unique experienced getting to see for ourselves the tell-tale pink bathroom tiles and immortalise its grand hallways. The video has since garnered 18,000 views on Facebook, 6,000 views on LinkedIn and has generated nostalgic discussion from nurses within St Vincent's and across Australia.

The video takes a tour of the old facility, basking in the old architecture, the religious sculptures, and the stained glass. It was a unique experienced getting to see for ourselves the tell-tale pink bathroom tiles and immortalise its grand hallways. The video has since garnered 18,000 views on Facebook, 6,000 views on LinkedIn and has generated nostalgic discussion from nurses within St Vincent's and across Australia.

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Carmel and David Cotter returning to Aikenhead, 2021

This emotional journey is the final documentation of a building which has meant so much to so many. As Clare Dyer, President of the St Vincent's Nurses Association so eloquently put it,

“These friendships are what will keep the spirit of Aikenhead alive forever”.

Whatever you hope to create, you can be sure we will be able to help you out. Give us a call on our new phone number, 1800 JASPER or, if you need some more ideas on what we can do, feel free to check out our work on Vimeo or read our past blogs.

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