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Big Billy and Betty reach for sky at Sunshine Hospital

Home > About Us > News > Big Billy and Betty reach for sky at Sunshine Hospital

​(from left) Western Health
Chief Executive A/Prof
Alex Cockram, Crystal
Thompson and Health
Minister Jill Hennessy

Big Billy and Betty reach for sky at Sunshine Hospital

​Two massive cranes building the new $200 million Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Sunshine have been named Big Billy and Betty by local school children.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy visited the construction site earlier this month and also met 11-year-old Crystal Thompson – the grade six Jackson School student who gave Big Billy its moniker.

The second crane, which is soon to be installed, was named by 16-year-old paediatric patient Kasandra Denic.

Both girls were winners the Western Health and Community Advisory Committee’s “Name the Cranes” competition.

Western Health chief executive A/Prof Alex Cockram said after years of planning for the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the installation of the cranes – they are 35m tall, have a 55m reach, and can each lift 16 tonnes – was a significant milestone.

“This is an extraordinary period for the community of the west of Melbourne,” she said.

“This is where things really get going. The hospital is going to be a great tribute to Joan Kirner, our first female premier.”

Since breaking ground on the project in October, excavators have removed about 1500 cubic metres of soil, with a further 4000 still to go.

Ms Hennessy said: “Construction works are powering full steam ahead. With cranes now in place, the new hospital will start rising from the ground.

“This hospital will ensure more women in Melbourne’s west will be able to give birth and access children’s services, when they need it, closer to home.”