Our Storyalt

The Humour Foundation is an Australian charity dedicated to promoting and delivering the health benefits of humour

It was the vision of a performer who wanted to use his talents to give something back to the community and a general practitioner. They had often talked about the 'art of medicine'.

They were inspired by meeting Dr Patch Adams, by research findings on the benefits of humour, and the work of Swiss-based Theodora Foundation and the Big Apple Clown Care Unit in New York. 

In 1996, six founding members helped change a good idea and a lot of passion into a reality.

Through the newly formed charity, they found a new and unique way to give something back. Clown DoctorsTM was an immediate way to deliver the health benefits of humour to those who needed it most.

A short pilot project was undertaken in 1996 at Royal Hobart Hospital, not long after the Port Arthur massacre. In January 1997, Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick became the first hospital to host the Clown Doctors program regularly.

At first many people questioned what place a clown had in hospital; these days our biggest complaint is "why can't you be here more often?"


The major goal was to establish Clown Doctors in all major children's hospitals in Australia, and our ultimate aim is to have Clown Doctors operating in all major children's hospitals seven days a week.

In 2000, Clown Doctors began work in palliative care. As a part of the Smiles Around the WorldTM project, we visited Timor in 2000 and Afghanistan in 2002, helping people to find their smiles again.

Today, The Humour Foundation has two principal areas of work. The Clown Doctors program and our recently developed Elder Clowns program. While Clown Doctors work with children in hospital, Elder Clowns work with elderly people living with dementia or depression in aged care facilities.

The Humour Foundation is again challenging the place of clown in a new environment, with Elder Clowns showing the value a clown can bring to improving the quality of life of elders in the community. 

Our Goal

Clown Doctors now touch the lives of over 100,000 people every year. We are now part of hospital life in all major children's hospitals around Australia. 

We are still hoping to reach our target of seven days a week...

Click here to find out how you can help us reach our goal.