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Eva Kolling: One woman’s philanthropic act has grown into a centre for medical research excellence

By September 7, 2023September 12th, 2023No Comments

The generosity of Eva Kolling has had a significant impact on medical research within the Northern Sydney Local Health District for over a century. 

Old Kolling Medical Research Institute

Charles Kolling Memorial Laboratory

Originally named the Institute of Pathological Research of NSW, the organisation was established in a cottage within the grounds of Royal North Shore Hospital in 1920.  

In 1929, Mrs Eva Kolling OBE made a gift of £5,000 (equivalent to $458,000 in 2023) in memory of her late husband – Charles Kolling. This generous donation was used to fund the construction of one of the first medical research laboratories in New South Wales  – the Charles Kolling Memorial Laboratory.

Throughout her life, Eva continued to have ongoing engagement with the research laboratory and developed a keen curiosity and passion for the advancement of medical research. Upon her death in 1941, Eva generously left a legacy gift in her will to continue to support the development of the medical research facility.

In her thank-you note after the completion of the first laboratory Eva wrote:

“To these people, I tender my most sincere thanks because not only will my husband’s name be known forever, but many lives will be spared, and humanity assisted generally.”

What started as a single laboratory has since expanded into a fully-fledged medical research institute, The Kolling Institute, focused on answering some of the greatest health and medical challenges facing our world today.

Modern Kolling Medical Research Institute

Modern Kolling Institute

Today, the Kolling Insitute is a joint partnership between the Northern Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020 and is considered the oldest medical research institute in New South Wales.  

The Kolling Institute continues to be at the forefront of research and prides itself on turning scientific discoveries into medical realities in clinical practice across its three Priority Research Areas: Musculoskeletal, Neuroscience and Pain, and Cardiovascular and Renal.

While we all share a responsibility to champion inclusion, embrace diversity and actively advance equality in our relevant sectors, we can’t help but be extra grateful for those in the community who dedicate their lives to creating a brighter future for all. This is exactly what our hospital and research staff within the Northern Sydney Local Health District are doing on a daily basis – focusing their efforts to ensure that they are providing high-quality patient services to the community when they need it most and looking to the future to create cutting-edge treatment options. In this age of globalisation where innovation is developing rapidly, and the world is facing unprecedented health challenges like never before, the need for investment in our medical services and research facilities is becoming increasingly important.

It took incredible foresight, generosity, and passion for Eva Kolling to make the philanthropic investment that she did (especially during a time when such charity was unheard of). As a community, we should be grateful for this act of philanthropic leadership as without her gift the Kolling Institute may not have ever existed and been able to touch the millions of lives that it does today.

If you would like to make an enquiry about investing in high quality healthcare and innovative medical research by leaving a gift in your Will, please contact the NORTH Foundation at [email protected] or on (02) 9436 0162.

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