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From the Archives, 1937: Mobile health centre for country Victorian


First published in The Age, September 24, 1937.


The Baby Health Centre caravan.Credit:The Age Archives

Care For Country Mothers And Babies


Soon the people of the distant Mallee places will see the big, new, buff-colored caravan, the “baby health centre on wheels,” travelling along their dusty roads. Many of them attending the Royal Melbourne Show will probably see it before it reaches the Mallee, for it is to be on view in the show grounds. Yesterday in all its shining newness the huge, streamlined vehicle pulled up outside the mothercraft training school of the Victorian Baby Health Centres’ Association in Carlton, so that members of the committee, and Matron Sage and her staff could see it completed.

It is a model of its kind, perfect in detail, and really fascinating to examine, and is sure to be of the greatest interest to the Mallee folk — in fact, to everyone who sees it, for in a large medallion on the side appears a picture of a rosy cheeked baby in a circular scroll, with the name of the association in large letters. The color scheme of the interior is cream and green a cool, restful combination. The front part of the caravan, whose total length is 16 feet 8 inches, and width 6 feet 4 inches, is designed as a health centre, complete with baby scales, a collapsible seat for the mother, cupboards, wash basin, and secretarial corner for records, &c.

The refrigerator in the nurses’ quarters.

The refrigerator in the nurses’ quarters.Credit:The Age Archives

The rear of the van provides living quarters for the two sisters Miss K. Hughston and Miss M. Turner. This part is fitted with two bunks, one of them folding, with rubber mattresses; a wardrobe, lockers, stainless steel sink, petrol stove, refrigerator, and even small bath let into the floor, with portable shower. There are two water tanks to hold 55 gallons, and two petrol tanks to take 26 gallons, while there are even a wireless set, an electric fan and petrol radiator. The two seats for the drivers — the sisters will do their own driving — are comfortable easy chairs, covered with green leather, and mounted on casters so that they can be moved. The curtains are in attractive green and cream folk weave, while all windows and ventilators are covered with fly wire. Mr. F. W. Kerr, the city engineer of Box Hill, who designed the caravan, seems to have thought of every detail, and the caravan is a marvel of ingenuity.

Many Generous Gifts

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