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History of the Kolling

The Kolling Institute is the longest-running medical research institute in New South Wales. Established in 1920 by Act of Parliament as the Institute of Pathological Research of NSW, the Institute has held a central position in the research activities of Royal North Shore Hospital in St Leonards, Sydney, for almost 90 years. In 1931, it moved into a new building and was renamed the Kolling Institute of Medical Research in memory of Charles Kolling, an engineer whose widow Eva Kolling made a substantial donation towards its development.

Mrs Eva Kolling OBE was a generous benefactor of the Royal North Shore Hospital. Interested in medical research, in 1929 she donated £5000 for the building of a laboratory in memory of her late husband, Charles Kolling. Born in the United States, Charles had helped to establish a large asphalt works at Greenwich and later became Managing Director of the Link Belt Company of Australia, as well as being associated with developments in mining sites, including Mount Morgan in Queensland.

On a visit to the Royal North Shore Hospital to see the 'Charles Kolling Bed', Eva met Dr Bill Ingram who invited her to inspect the Institute of Medical Research. As a result, she became very interested in the Institute. In the 1929 Christmas Annual of the Royal North Shore Hospital, her donation of £5000, (which equates to over $370,000 in 2016 currency) provided the "gift of a well equipped laboratory for the pursuit of medical research, [that] stands out prominently amongst the charitable benefactions in the history of the Commonwealth, which through the years to come will be perhaps the greatest value to its people."

The Charles Kolling Memorial Laboratory, housing the Institute of Medical Research, was officially opened in 1931. On Eva Kolling's death in 1941, she left a bequest to support the Laboratory and financed a third floor to complete the old Kolling Institute.

Today, the Kolling Institute extends far beyond the Kolling Building which stands tall on the RNSH campus and houses our basic laboratory facilities. The Kolling oversees research across the Northern Sydney Local Health District and is able to meet the demands for world-class research into the 21st Century. Dr Bill Ingram and Mrs Kolling would be proud their efforts have flourished, and pleased the local community in Northern Sydney continues to support the Kolling Institute.