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Life in Their Hands at Subiaco Arts

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
Funny, poignant and uplifting stories remind us of the past
There cannot be a single family who has lived in Western Australia for any time at all that doesn't owe a debt of gratitude to King Edward Memorial Hospital. My own son, James,was born in an emergency Cesarean at King Edward and he and my wife received the best possible medical care available anywhere.

I, along with thousands upon thousands of Western Australians, owe the dedicated and passionate staff of 'King Eddy's' a debt we can never repay.

Nursing Staff at King edward Memorial Hospital for Women in 1916 (Photograph in the public domain)

This year the hospital celebrates one hundred years of service from the tentative and shaky opening with a mere twenty beds for both mothers and babies. The hospital grew out of a concern in the early part of the last century that there was no dedicated public maternity hospital. There were various charitable and private maternity clinics.

At a meeting in 1909 a decision was taken to appoint a committee to pursue the matter led by Edith Cowan and Jane Scott.

Life in Their Hands, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Jenny Davis, Subiaco Arts Centre, Agelink Theatre
The Bateman Triplets going home - 1959 (Photograph in the public domain)

Between 1909 and 1915 the committee raised funds and tussled with government to wring enough funds to open the hospital on the 14th July, 1916. It was named for the late monarch Edward VII who had died in 1910.

Life in Their Hands, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Jenny Davis, Subiaco Arts Centre, Agelink Theatre
HRH King Emperor Edward VII (Photograph in the public domain)

In the first six months 101 babies were born. The cost of a confinement and fourteen days post natal care cost three pounds and three shillings.

To mark the centenary of King Edward the Centenary Committee, working with Agelink Theatre and Vocal Ensemble Voiceworks have commissioned Life in Their Hands, a stories and music celebration of the birth of the hospital, through the First World War and the changes over the decades to now.

Life in Their Hands, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Jenny Davis, Subiaco Arts Centre, Agelink Theatre
King Edward Memorial Hospital Pupil midwife and students golden Jubilee 1966 (Photograph courtesy King Edward Memorial Hospital)

Written by well-known theatre personality Jenny Davis Life in Their Hands has two performances only at 2:00pm and 7:30pm on the 6th August at the Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Road, Subiaco.

Tickets cost $35.68 (adults) and $ 30.58 (concession) and are available on the Ticketek website here.

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Why? 100 Years of maternity care celebrated
When: 2pm and 7:30pm
Where: Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Road, Subiaco
Cost: $35.68 Adults ($30.58 Concession)
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