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Fortitude valley child health centre

The meaning of «fortitude valley child health centre»

Fortitude Valley Child Health Centre is a heritage-listed clinic at 112 Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by Cecil James Virgo. It is also known as Fortitude Valley Baby Clinic & Nurse Training Centre. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 12 August 2011.[1]

The Fortitude Valley Child Health Centre was constructed in 1923 as a baby clinic, maternity and infant nurse training centre, and administrative headquarters for baby clinics in the state and has been operating continuously for child health care since. It was the first purpose-built maternal and child welfare nurse training centre in Queensland following the introduction of the Maternity Act 1922 which was part of a national and international movement to improve the health of mothers and babies.[1]

Queensland infant death rates were high at the turn of the 20th century. Dr Alfred Jefferis Turner, the Brisbane Children's Hospital's first resident medical officer appointed in 1889, was instrumental in reducing the death rate through his work on developing a diphtheria antitoxin which he introduced to Brisbane in 1894. Dr Turner then embarked on a further public health campaign, educating mothers in the hygienic preparation of food, particularly for those infants not breast fed,[2] as diarrhoea remained a major factor in infant deaths.[1]

Such initiatives reflected a growing international move towards the reduction of infant mortality through maternal education. Both England and Germany established Schools for Mothers in 1905. In New Zealand, the Royal Society for the Health of Women was founded in 1907 by Dr Frederic Truby King. His emphasis was on the promotion of breast feeding, the training of nurses in maternal and infant welfare and the education of parents in domestic hygiene.[1][3]

In 1908 Dr Turner established the first infant welfare clinic in Brisbane.[4] He saw up to 100 babies a week, free of charge, although this clinic was a short-lived operation due to a lack of funds.[5] Ongoing lobbying for the establishment of baby clinics was undertaken by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the Queensland Women's Electoral League and the National Council of Women of Queensland. Following a child welfare conference in Sydney in 1916, the establishment of three (later expanded to four) Queensland baby clinics was announced by the Home Secretary John Huxham in August 1917.[6] At that time there were 11 clinics in New South Wales and one in Victoria.[7] South Australia had adopted the English/German model of the School for Mothers, opening its first Institute in Adelaide in September 1911.[8] Huxham travelled to Sydney and Melbourne in January 1918, to assess these clinics in preparation for planning the Brisbane baby clinics.[1][9]

The first Queensland Government baby clinic opened in a rented cottage in Brunswick Street, near Robertson Street, Fortitude Valley[10] on 8 March 1918, managed by Matron Florence Chatfield of the Diamantina Hospital. In the early decades of the 20th century Fortitude Valley was a popular residential area. It had become an important commercial and retail district in the late nineteenth century following its establishment in the 1850s with the expansion of the settlement of the town of Brisbane. The three other clinics opened shortly after at Woolloongabba, Spring Hill and West End.[1][5]

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