VIDRL has its origins in the Department of Pathology, at the specialist infectious diseases hospital Fairfield Hospital, which closed in 1996. VIDRL was formally designated as a Victorian public health reference laboratory supporting the Victorian Department of Health in 1992. After Fairfield’s closure VIDRL transferred to what is now Melbourne Health, and relocated to North Melbourne in 1998. In 2006 VIDRL took over the management of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, which subsequently relocated to VIDRL’s facilities in 2007. In 2014 VIDRL relocated into the Doherty.