Finding the abandoned Princess Margaret Hospital for Children (PMH) in Perth, Western Australia was a pure fluke. I had originally gone out with the intention of finding an abandoned hotel but whilst driving around the perimeter of the not-so-exciting looking hotel, this huge, formidable building with scaffolding caught my eye. “Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital” was in faded writing along the side of the building which could barely be made out. I almost crashed the car with excitement. I had heard about this hospital but had been under the impression it was demolished!
I parked quickly because I knew if I kept driving and crashed, I’d be paying the rental car company a hefty fine (at least $3500). My coffee cup was still fairly full so I went for a stroll and to suss out an access point. I found one pretty quickly, down a quiet street, with very little traffic, and a fence that seemed doable. At least it had no spikes. It was first thing on a Sunday morning, so my motor skills hadn’t properly woken up yet.
I drained the coffee cup as soon as I could manage, stuck my phone in my sports bra and very clumsily climbed over the fence. If anyone saw me they would have thought I was a drunk who was heading home from Saturday night clubbing and had mistaken a partly demolished hospital for my home. Oh well!
In I snuck, heart thumping, still not believing I’d found this historic hospital. Demolition had begun on one side of the site, but most of it was still intact. It was mostly gutted out sadly – I have yet to find a hospital or asylum with the old furniture still inside. But it was still a really good explore, and I got the adrenaline spike and fear factor I was looking for.
For me personally, hospitals and asylums, are the pinnacle of urbex. They are big, dark, and scary. You lose your way inside because of the vastness and the rooms all looking the same. The atmosphere is totally different in them compared to say an abandoned riding school or a spooky house. It’s an unsettling feeling and you’re always aware of the hundreds, maybe thousands of people who would have spent time there, possibly in pain, and who possibly passed away.
This is one of the reasons why I never do the history research until after I have explored and photographed (and left) the building. Most times, I will find some creepy stories about things that happened to people at the hospital or asylum, and if I knew those stories before going in for the first time, they would probably hinder my confidence and photography.
If you want to read more about why I love urbex so much and what I love about it, check out this blog
The History of the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, WA
The 111-year-old Princess Margaret Hospital was Western Australia’s first dedicated children’s hospital.
PMH has a special place in the Western Australia State’s heart and history through the exceptional care and services provided to patients and their families, as well as being at the forefront of many medical breakthroughs.
The history of PMH dates back to 1897, when Perth businessman Charles Moore received threepence from a young girl, who asked for it to be put towards a children’s hospital. After 12 years of fundraising and lobbying efforts, the girl’s wish came true in 1909 when Perth’s Children’s Hospital opened to the public.
The original facilities included 40 beds, an operating theatre and outpatient department. It was renamed PMH in 1949, after Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II.Although PMH underwent many renovations and improvements over the years, Western Australia’s rapidly growing and changing population meant more room was needed.
In 2008, it was announced that a new, purpose-built children’s hospital would be constructed to better address the community’s future paediatric health needs. At the time of its closure in June 2018, PMH had approximately 220 beds and served more than 280,000 patients per year.