Congratulations Debbie Hudson on 45 years

Debbie commenced working at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital in 1977 when the hospital was called St Anne’s Hospital.

12 Oct 2022

St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital Patient Food Services Cook Debra Hudson

She was only 18 at the time and was working in the kitchen. Back then there were two kitchens - the other one was in the maternity wing of the hospital, which is now the Medical Centre. 

Debbie had been working in the kitchen for some time when Sister Wilfred asked her if she would be interested in joining the religious life. 

“I had to advise her that I had been married for six months,” Debbie said. 

“I worked alongside other women who were not formally trained as chefs but had learned how to cook very good wholesome meals at home,” she said. 

“There was no pre-packaged or pre-cooked food, everything was cooked and prepared on-site, right down to chopping up the pumpkin with a guillotine. All the muffins, scones, black forest cakes and cheesecakes were made from scratch.”

When Sister Mel, who was the Matron on the third floor, discovered that Debbie could sew, she was seconded to the third floor where she was placed in a vacant patient room cutting up fabric on the floor. Deb ended up making curtains for nearly the whole of the ward, including sewing a strip of material on the pillowcases to match the curtains.  

“Just before finishing the curtain for the entire ward, the head of the kitchen demanded that I return to my job. She said I was not so much seconded, in fact I was simply poached!” Debbie said. 

On returning to the kitchen, her sewing skills were by then well renowned, the kitchen manager asked Deb to make uniforms for all of the kitchen staff, including a skirt, blouse and waistcoat. Deb celebrated her 21st birthday while working at the hospital and remembers all of her cards displayed above the ovens.

“In those days, there was no such thing as uniforms, gloves, or hair nets and jewelry was freely worn,” Debbie said. 

“In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the hospital also supplied food for a couple of surrounding convents, one being in Highgate and the other in Doubleview. I would deliver the food, which was prepared and partially cooked at Mt Lawley and then finished off at the other end,” she said. 

Debbie has received nine badges and proudly wears them at special events. One of the highlights for Deb was that she was asked to switch on the St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital illuminated sign on the roof of Killowen House in 2018.

Thank you for your commitment Deb, we are so grateful for your service.