NURSE Mary Jarrett was a well known and highly respected midwife in Woonona. She like Nurse Cram, who ran a private hospital on the Prince’s Highway, where the Mines Rescue Station is located, and Nurse Hobbs, whose hospital was located behind the old Woonona Post Office, ran lying in hospitals where many local children were born.
Dan Meehan’s great grandmother, Nurse Hobbs, known as the “Poor Peoples Friend”, operated her maternity hospital at number 1 Popes Road, Woonona early last century. He posted the following information about midwifes in the Woonona Project Facebook Group:
“Nurse Jarrett was a very well known and highly respected midwife in Woonona. She like others, ie Nurse Cram (on the Princes Highway where the Mines Rescue office is now) and Nurse Hobbs (behind the old Woonona Post Office at Cwm Rhondda) ran Lying in hospitals where many children were born.
“Mothers were given a guinea by the government for 14 days lying in after giving birth. That funded the private lying in hospitals. Numerous birth certificates – if people get them of their Woonona ancestors – will have the names of these midwives on them as witnesses to the birth.”
Nurse Mary Jarrett would travel around the district in a horse and cart to help local women birthing. The women would come to the High Street house and spend time recovering with nurse Jarrett.
Sandy Jenkinson posted the following information, along with a picture of Nurse Jarrett’s hospital shingle on Facebook: “My great grandmother Nurse Mary Jarrett was the owner and midwife at the cottage hospital… She would go out at night in a horse and cart to help local women birthing. They would come to the house and spend some time recovering with nurse Jarrett.”
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