The Melbourne Archdiocese is selling the birth site of St Mary MacKillop to St Vincent’s Private Hospital ahead of a $57 million redevelopment. Source: Herald Sun.
The proposed expansion of the Fitzroy hospital has angered locals who fear the demolition of significant heritage buildings in the area. They also say St Mary’s birth site is at risk because of the development.
But Melbourne Archdiocese director of media and communications Shane Healy said the development was not a threat to the birth site.
“St Vincent’s are in the process of acquiring the property from the Archdiocese of Melbourne and are respectful and aware of the responsibilities that come with ownership of the site,” he said.
“St Vincent’s Hospital plans do not propose to build over this sacred site nor the building overhang of the actual birthplace.”
￼Mr Healy said the hospital had a permit to develop the site.
A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal challenge related only to conditions imposed by the City of Yarra regarding the height of the new building and heritage concerns but not the birthplace.
The $57 million redevelopment will include eight additional operating theatres, a new 12-chair day oncology unit, more consulting suites and 90 new inpatient rooms.
Fitzroy Residents’ Association chair Martin Brennan said the group was “opposed to the over development and its impact on the heritage value of the buildings that will be impacted”.
“The birthplace of Mary MacKillop is also of value to a number of residents in our community,” he said.
“The proposed development is an over reach by a hospital that should have more regard for its place in our community.”
Born in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, in 1842, Mary MacKillop was canonised in 2010, 101 years after her death.
Her sainthood capped a remarkable turnaround for a woman who was once excommunicated after a dispute with Church hierarchy. She spent her life devoted to educating the young and helping the poor and disadvantaged.