Selfless St John of God Sisters acknowledged at Midland public hospital opening

St John of God Sisters Rita McDermott, Teresa Joyce, Nuala Horkan, Denise Moloney and Teresa Ann Garry.
St John of God Sisters Rita McDermott, Teresa Joyce, Nuala Horkan, Denise Moloney and Teresa Ann Garry.

TOMORROW’S opening of the Midland public hospital marks 120 years almost to the day when the St John of God Sisters came out from Ireland to start nursing in WA.

St John of God Health Care Trustees chairwoman Eva Skira acknowledged the organisation’s founders at the official opening of St John of God Midland Public Hospital last Friday.

Eight sisters had come 35 days by sea and disembarked in Albany before travelling to Perth by road and going on to establish their Subiaco hospital in 1898, a Kimberley post later and, in 1915, a hospital in Ballarat.

“They came here to help those who were in need; there was an outbreak of typhoid in the colony,” Ms Skira said of the sisters’ migration to WA.

“They went to Kalgoorlie a year later to help with the miners and of course the booming colony and I think the people of Perth responded then to establishing infrastructure to help with the growth and 120 years later government and other people have responded similarly.”

The acknowledgement of the sisters’ strong ethos of public service and pioneering foundations was a proud moment for the St John of God Sisters present at the opening ceremony.

“I was thinking about the ones who came before us, the leaders and thinking of the challenge it was for them. And over time the challenge still existing, still coming and this here at Midland is another challenge,” former head of midwifery at Subiaco Sr Denise Moloney said.

“This for us is the first public hospital in Western Australia with the St John of God staff – not the nuns – in charge of it. It’s lovely to see.”

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