The History of the Tasmanian Branch of the Australian College of Midwives
The Tasmanian Branch of the ACM was founded in Hobart in 1981. At the time it was known as the National Midwives Association, Tasmanian Branch.
The initial group was largely made up of midwives from the Queen Alexandra Maternity Hospital, which was the public maternity hospital in Hobart. Commonly known as the Queen Alex, the maternity unit had just moved into a wing of the Royal Hobart Hospital in 1980, from a separate site in Battery Point. The midwives at Calvary Lenah Valley Hospital, the private maternity hospital in Hobart, also supported the Branch and its work.
Cynthia Turnbull was the inaugural President and served in this role until 1984.
Alison Garrison was the first Tasmanian Representative to the National Midwives Association (which became the ACM).
The aim of the Tasmanian Branch, as described by Cynthia, was to develop midwifery services with mothers as the focal point.
The group ran regular Saturday ‘Study Days’, with speakers presenting on varied midwifery topics. They were able to introduce important changes at the Queen Alex to support woman-focused care; a Midwives Clinic, a Birth Centre run by midwives, and an early discharge service with daily home follow-up. Tasmania was also excited to host the 1987 Biennial National Midwifery Conference.
The current Tasmanian Branch is very grateful to these midwives and the work they did. It’s obvious that later midwifery developments, such as the introduction of Midwifery Group Practices around the State, were made possible by this emphasis on woman-centred care in the 1980s.
The Tasmanian Branch would also like to acknowledge the muwinina people as the traditional and original owners of this land, and to recognise their long history of care for birthing women and babies.
Prepared for International Day of the Midwife, 5th May 2022
Written by Maya Wilkinson
President, Tasmanian Branch of the ACM