History of Flinders Medical Centre

Photographs representing history of Flinders Medical Centre


Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) has its origins in the early 1960’s when the South Australian Government, under then Premier Sir Thomas Playford, recognised the need for a new hospital. This was in response to the increasing population of the southern and south-western suburbs of Adelaide and mounting community pressure for a university and hospital in the region.

Flinders University opens

In 1966, Flinders University opened, and shortly after plans to expand the university campus to include a new medical school and hospital were approved by Cabinet.

FMC building commences

Building excavations commenced in 1972, on what was to become Flinders Medical Centre. Thus began the most ambitious and unique medical school and hospital development in Australasia at that time.

Joint medical school and public hospital

Flinders Medical Centre was designed as the first fully integrated public teaching hospital and medical school in Australia. It was also the first medical school to eliminate the split between clinical and preclinical training.

FMC opens

Flinders Medical Centre admitted its first patient in April 1976. The hospital stands against a background of university buildings and sweeping hills in the suburb known as Bedford Park, some 12 kilometres south of the centre of Adelaide.

Integrated service

In South Australia, FMC was the first hospital to provide a fully integrated service for people of all ages – ie obstetrics, paediatrics, and psychiatry as well as general medical and surgical services. Before this, these services had to be accessed in separate hospitals.

Early history

The campus is built on land of the Kaurna Aboriginal people, which has been owned by the State or Federal Government since 1915. The original owners are recognised in a plaque in the courtyard unveiled by Kaurna elders in the presence of Dame Roma Mitchell at our 20th Anniversary celebrations in 1995.

Our name

Both Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University take their name from British navigator Matthew Flinders, who explored and surveyed the South Australian coastline in 1802.

Bedford Park

The area of Bedford Park was first developed in the 19th century as a pastoral property. From 1918 it became a tuberculosis sanatorium and mixed farm. The sanatorium was demolished in the early 1960’s making way for the development of Flinders University and the Flinders Medical Centre.

In 2016, Flinders Medical Centre celebrated its 40th Anniversary.