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05 May 2017 Blog
On International Midwives Day we take a look back at some of the key milestones in our midwifery history.

Our midwifery history begins in 1936 when religious women were given papal approval to care for mothers and infants, prior to this no Sisters were midwives or worked in obstetrics.

In Western Australia, St Anne's Nursing Home which is now St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital became the first Catholic midwifery hospital in the State. Shortly after, a maternity ward was established at St John of God Subiaco Hospital while maternity wards opened at other St John of God hospitals soon after.

Today, St John of God Health Care provides maternity care at 11 hospitals across Australia including at Ballarat, Bendigo, Berwick, Bunbury, Geelong, Geraldton, Hawkesbury, Midland, Mt Lawley, Murdoch and Subiaco.

Our midwives over time

Sister Gertrude Willoughby was the first religious midwife in Western Australia. She was the first Sister in Charge of maternity beds at St Anne's Hospital, Mt Lawley (now St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital).

Sister Canisius presents a gift to the first baby born in the standalone maternity wing completed at St John of God Subiaco Hospital in 1961.

The first lay graduates from the Midwifery Training School at St John of God Subiaco Hospital in 1962. From 1949 the hospital provided midwifery training for religious Sisters.

St John of God Ballarat Hospital's nursery was very busy in 1974.

In 2015, St John of God Midland Public Hospital's maternity unit opened becoming the newest maternity unit in the St John of God Health Care group.