There has been a tragic twist in the historic birth of Melbourne's first quintuplets for three decades.

The babies, two boys and three girls, were born at the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton today.

But the historic birth was tinged with sadness by the news that one of them, a little girl, had died, just a day before delivery.

Seven News understands all five babies were delivered by Caesarean section at 1pm this afternoon during a highly-structured operation.

A team of around 30 specialists, including obstetricians, pediatricians, anesthetists and nursing staff were assembled for the historic medical event.

The four surviving babies will be cared for around the clock in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Melbourne's last set of quintuplets were born to Josephine Kissane and her husband, Peter, at the Mercy Hospital in February 1980.

The Kissane quins, four boys and one girl, were delivered by Caesarean section 11 weeks prematurely, but, sadly, none of them survived.

Records dating back to 1967 show 11 sets of quintuplets have been born in Australia.

The 48-year-old mother of the latest quins already has 12 children and now has one of the state's largest families.

At this stage the mother of the four surviving quintuplets wants to remain anonymous.

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