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Our midwifery roots

04 May 2018 Blog
To celebrate International Day of the Midwife our St John of God Geraldton Hospital Chief Executive Officer Brenda Bradley shares her personal story of Bridgey, the midwife.

Bridgey grew up in rural Ireland in a place called Kilbeggan, which is famous for Locke’s Distillery and Kilbeggan Whiskey.

She came to Coventry, England in 1947 and completed her general training at Gulson Road Hospital, Coventry (since demolished) and now known as University Hospital.

Bridgey loved life at this time and enjoyed being at the hospital with dances, 12 hour shifts, earning $5 per month and buying nylon stockings! During this time, she caught the eye of a tall dark handsome lad Tommy from Cavan, Ireland.

Bridgey trained in the Call the Midwife era and rode her bike around Coventry with her yellow student midwife uniform.

When she commenced her district midwifery she lived with the Registered Midwife Mary who had a car and would sometimes drop off and pick up Bridgey if it was snowing.

One such occasion Bridgey was dropped off to a lady in labour. It was the practice that students had to bring the placenta (after birth), wrapped in newspaper and placed in a brown bag, back to the hospital.

The lady safely delivered and it was now daylight and Bridgey caught the bus back to the hospital. On arrival at the hospital, she discovered that she had left the brown paper bag, containing the placenta, on the bus – such mortification.

Bridgey had to tell her boss and ring the Coventry Transport about the package. The package was returned intact to Bridgey and all was well.

Bridgey passed all her exams and became a registered Midwife in 1952 and continued to practice until 1986.

Tommy and Bridgey later married and had five children, of which I am one. Both have passed away but the lifetime of caring lives on. I am a midwife and my daughter is a registered midwife.

St John of God Health Care

Brenda was the former CEO at St John of God Geraldton Hospital. She has been working for 35 years’ in acute hospitals as well as recent experience working in regional Western Australia for the WA Country Health Service. She has previously worked as the Deputy Director of Nursing for Obstetrics and Newborn Services at St John of God Subiaco Hospital.