7. Westmead Hospital

Westmead Hospital constructionAerial view of Westmead Hospital under construction, c. 1977
Courtesy: City of Parramatta Community Archives Collection

The decision that the burgeoning suburbs of Western Sydney demanded specialised, quality healthcare in easy access might not seem controversial today, but as with every project on this list, it was at the time. Conventional thinking had centralised healthcare resources in the east.

Westmead Hospital was given the green light in the early 1970s among a raft of other changes that continued this movement towards improving outer suburban life – the re-sewering of the middle suburbs, the establishment of Medibank and the final dismantling of the White Australia Policy which saw migrants from all over the world come to Sydney, many of whom settled in the growing western suburbs. The decision to move major health services to Western Sydney was a direct investment in equity.

The Westmead site was transformed into one of the largest hospital complexes in the southern hemisphere. It is now the principal referral hospital for Western Sydney, with world-leading services in major trauma, bone marrow transplant, renal transplant, pancreas (islet) cell transplant, neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, the Westmead Centre for Oral Health, radiation oncology, cardiology interventional services and many, many more.

Westmead now hosts the Children’s Hospital which was relocated from Camperdown in recognition of the need for specialist children’s services in our geographic centre and provides outpatient services to one-twentieth of Australia’s population. It is a University of Sydney teaching hospital and a world-leader in health research. It is deservedly one of the 11 decisions that have made Greater Sydney.