Mildura Health Fund boasts one of the most prestigious histories of any health insurance company in Australia.

Its creation showed great creativity and foresight by the local pioneers of the Mildura area to which many still benefit from today to overcome a huge hospital funding issue at that particular time. From the allocation of 2 cwt. of dried fruit from growers a year to cover members for their hospital stays to the purchase of the Mildura Health Private Hospital in 1997.

Proud Heritage

In January 1926, Mildura District Hospital commenced a Voluntary Levy Scheme whereby employees of various business establishments throughout Sunraysia paid either 3 pence (single) or 6 pence (family) into the Fund and the employer matched the contribution. Membership of the scheme entitled the person and his or her family to free care in a public ward at the Hospital. In the first year the scheme raised £347.

In June 1929 a sub-committee of the Board of Management of the Mildura Base hospital comprising Dr. N. R. Henderson (Chairperson), Messrs’ J. M. Drummond, A. A. Johnston, R. H. Robertson, and E. S. Murray was appointed to formally develop Health Insurance Fund proposal for consideration.

On the 17th of December 1929 the Mildura and District Hospital Fund which was approved by the board of Management formally came to existence, with J. H. (Harry) Bayliss, Chairman, R. H. (Bert) Robertson and Mr E. S. (Ted) Murray as foundation Secretary.

MDHF became the first Fund of its nature in the State of Victoria, primarily aimed at lifting the burden of hospital costs and thereby freeing the patient’s mind of financial worry. The first official Fund office was in a small room located in the old hospital. The office moved to a number of different places within the old and new hospital.

The new scheme entitled the subscribers to hospital benefits to the value of £3/3- per week in either public or private hospitals, in return for a yearly contribution of £1/19/-(or 9 pence per week), or 2 cwt. of dried fruit (app 100 kg) from the growers.

>Mildura Hospital Circa 1929

Mildura Hospital Circa "1929"

The financial status of the Hospital Fund had steadily grown, which enabled us in 1929 to donate £100 to the Mildura Base Hospital “to fund the erection of a new surgery for Outpatients” and in 1932, in addition to paying benefits totalling £2,292 to the Hospital, the Fund donated a sum of £1,000 to the Hospital’s operating funds making it the second largest donation received by the hospital at that time.

In 1935 Bill Adair was appointed as the CEO of the Fund. Many members still recount how he would travel by push bike out to their properties to arrange fruit payment for the coming year to cover their health insurance needs.

Prior to 1961 Red Cliffs had been serviced by the Hospital Benefits Fund Red Cliffs. On the 1st October 1961 the two Funds were amalgamated with a representative of Red Cliffs appointed to the board of MDHF.

In 1989 MDHF was the first fund in Australia to enter into a 100% hospital contract arrangement. This was with Mildura Private Hospital when it was owned by Healthscope and Dr. Geoff Dreher was Healthscope’s Managing Director.

In 1997 MDHF became incorporated to enable the purchase of the Mildura Private Hospital. This was the largest and most significant single investment ever made by the Fund. The Mildura Private Hospital is now totally locally owned and provides substantial benefits to Mildura Fund members by providing a high standard of private health care.

From a membership of 750 in the first year, the Fund now administers more than 34,000 memberships. Through sensible investment policies, good business practice, and a responsible Board of Management, MHF members are currently reaping the rewards of top value benefit packages at contribution rates lower than major competitors.

Chief Executive Officers

E. S. (Ted) Murray 1 December 1929 to 17 March 1935
Vincent William Adair 18 March 1935 to 28 July 1966
William Bryan Pollock 2 August 1966 to 18 May 1974
Basil Ernest (Bill) Hines 19 May 1974 to 21 February 1989
Garry John Midgley 22 February 1989 to 15 July 2005
Peter Leslie Darkin 16 July 2005 to 8 July 2011
Gerard Op de Coul 9 July 2011 to current
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