A physio works with a spinal rehabilitation patientA physio works with a spinal rehabilitation patientA physio works with a spinal rehabilitation patient


In this section, you can find the following information:

Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre

In this Section:

The Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre is located at:

1 Yarra Boulevard
Australia 3101

Phone: 03 9490 7500
Fax: 03 9490 7501


Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre (RTRC) is dedicated to providing the best rehabilitation services in Australia.

We are renowned for our intensive rehabilitation programs, complemented by creative therapies including art, music and horticultural therapy.

Rehabilitation services include brain injury, amputee, neurology, spinal cord injuries, orthopaedics and orthotics and prosthetics.

Our facilities

The rehabilitation facilities are state-of-the-art including:

  • A hydrotherapy pool
  • Gymnasiums
  • Leisure facilities
  • All faiths chapel
  • Health Sciences Library and General Library
  • A varying range of accommodation to suit various independence levels
  • Orthotics & prosthetics design and fabrication facility


In 1907, the Talbot Colony for Epileptics was opened in Clayton.

Lady Margaret Talbot was the wife of his Excellency, Major General Sir Reginald Talbot, Governor of Victoria from 1904 to 1908. Lady Talbot had worked “with deep interest and zeal” on the original project of the National Council of Women and saw the Colony in working order before her departure from Australia in 1908.

In 1958, the half-century was celebrated by the Queen approving the prefix Royal being used in the title.

In 1959, that State Government intended to acquire the Clayton land to become part of the Monash University and offered in exchange, 58 acres of land bounded by Yarra Boulevard and the Chandler Highway, Kew, tenure to be secured by an unconditional Crown Grant. The State government promised to provide modern buildings of approximately the same area as the buildings at Clayton. The buildings were completed in 1961 and 37 patients were transferred from Clayton to Kew.

A “Colony” was no longer appropriate in the treatment of epilepsy and the name was changed to “Royal Talbot Centre”. Its objectives were “cure, care, rehabilitation and industrial training and occupation of persons suffering from epilepsy and other disabled and handicapped persons”. The Premier, Sir Henry Bolte officially opened the new centre in September 1962.

Next, the role of the centre changed to assisting major public hospitals by taking groups of orthopaedic, neurological and respiratory cases, still including some epileptic cases. At this time a sheltered workshop was formed which, in 1969, adopted the title ROYTAL.

In 1967, the Local Government Engineers Association held a field day on the property, exhibitors carried out basic earth works and the centre thus obtained 1000 feet of roadway at no cost to the centre.

A new building, a convalescent ward of 60 beds was built on a slab to bring it up to road level because of the fall of the land to the Chandler Highway. It was opened by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe in 1970 and named the Lesley A Mellor Ward after Sir Lesley Mellor who had died in 1966 after being President of the Council for 14 years and on the committee for 28 years.

Responsibility for nursing and medical care in Mellor Ward was with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, all other therapies with Royal Talbot, with Royal Melbourne having exclusive access to all beds. The name was changed to Royal Talbot General Rehabilitation Hospital.

In 1972, Royal Talbot received $1 million dollars for loss of service buildings and 33 acres of land for the construction of the Eastern Freeway.

It was recognised that additional facilities were needed. New Therapy Services Building was opened February 1985 by Hon. T.W. Roper. Custom built to the requirements of its rehabilitation program, it included physiotherapy, gymnasium, occupational therapy, speech pathology, social work, neuropsychology, consulting rooms, hydrotherapy, library, medical records library and staff dining room.

In the early 80s, spinal rehabilitation at the Austin Hospital was inadequate and replacement urgent. There was a plan to build a spinal rehabilitation centre on land at Macleod. With the opening of the new extension to Essendon and District Memory Hospital, Royal Melbourne was able to send patients there for rehabilitation.

It was then suggested that spinal rehabilitation at Austin be relocated at Royal Talbot as part of integration of Austin and Royal Talbot. Amalgamation took place in April 1988; the new corporate name would be Austin Hospital and the last meeting of Royal Talbot Council took place in March 1988, 82 years after it was founded. The name was changed from Royal Talbot General Rehabilitation Hospital to Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre.

In 1990, a new facility for people with severe brain damage was opened – the Acquired Brain Injury (or ABI) Unit. In 1992, the Prosthetics and Orthotics Department moved into a new building.

Construction of the Spinal Unit took place during 1992 / 1993, patients were transferred from Ward 17 at the Austin Hospital in December 1993, and it was officially opened by the Governor General, Bill Hayden in February 1994.

In 1995, the State Government established the Metropolitan Hospitals Planning Board. It recommended seven provider networks and Royal Talbot was included in the North Eastern Health Care Network. The new structure resulted in greater autonomy in management for Royal Talbot. However in 1997, the Northern Eastern Health Care was divided up resulting Royal Talbot being renamed as a Campus of the Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre (A&RMC).

Today Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre is one of the three facilities that constitute Austin Health.

Acknowledgement flags

Austin Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
We celebrate, value and include people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities.