Our history

The Austin Hospital has a long history of cancer care. From the point of its foundation in 1882, the Austin has been at the forefront of innovative medical treatment, education and research. 

hero-reserach Front of the building StuMorley-2007

An Austin Health treatment centre

In 1885, the ‘Austin Hospital for Incurables’ opened its first cancer ward and as early as the 1920s the use of x-rays in the treatment of cancer was being trialled at this location. By 1935 the Austin was the largest cancer hospital in Australia and in 1965 the Austin Hospital Clinical School was established, beginning the Austin’s reputation as a leading centre for medical education.

Today Austin Health treats more patients than any other hospital in the state of Victoria and is a leading treatment and research centre for a wide variety of conditions. These include issues related to spinal and head injuries, heart conditions, liver disease, stroke and epilepsy, aged care, urology, diabetes, thoracic disease, stress disorders and mental health, incorporating a specialised unit for children with eating disorders.

From my own experience I know that a positive mind and a supportive environment, alongside integrative wellness care and medical treatment, played a huge role in my healing. It’s not just about treating cancer; it’s about treating the whole person – body, mind and spirit. Olivia Newton-John, Cancer Thriver and ONJ Founding Patron.

Our research history

This commitment to being a leader in treatment and innovation was continued when the Austin became one of the few Australian locations for The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Our discoveries and clinical trials on this site contributed, and continue to contribute, to the development of new and breakthrough cancer treatments.

In 2015 we became the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute and our current suite of research programs focus on a broad range of cancer mechanisms and cancer types. More than 140 research studies are under way, and at any one time our scientists are involved in up to 200 ongoing clinical trials. We draw on our close relationship between research and care to continually improve the lives of people living with cancer.

Becoming our patient

As a a patient at the ONJ Centre you gain access to world-class care in a tranquil environment.

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Our research

Every day our researchers and clinicians work together to discover, develop and trial breakthroughs.

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A vision for better patient care

Until 2012 Austin Health’s cancer services were spread over 11 buildings across Heidelberg. Patients were traveling from place to place in order to receive their care, while clinicians and researchers were often working in separate locations. This contributed to patient stress and acted as a barrier to collaboration.

In 2004, with a desire to improve patient care and make the most of our expert research, Austin Health developed a vision to consolidate these locations. This would bring treating teams together, facilitate integrated research and optimise patient care and experience. It was essential for the Centre design and treatment philosophy to be informed by the feedback and suggestions of current and former patients. Alongside innovative treatment and productive collaboration between researchers and clinical staff there emerged an emphasis on creating a welcoming space where patients felt acknowledged and treated as individuals.

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