Anyone born or who gave birth at Queenstown’s former maternity hospital is invited to a group photo on April 8.
The Sydney Street building – about to make way for a Holiday Inn Express hotel – was the town’s maternity home from 1947 till 1989, before being converted into a backpackers.
Former mayoress Lorraine Cooper, who’s organising the get-together, had all five of her children delivered at the home between 1960 and 1970.
She’s pictured, centre, with Queenstowners Margaret Sheehy, left, who gave birth there to eight of her nine children, and Marie Brown, who had two there.
Cooper says every two years she had what amounted to a holiday at the maternity home.
“We were allowed to stay two weeks and most of us did, because we were just so looked after.
“The babies would be up in the nursery and they’d be brought to us when it was time to feed them, and then [matron Myrtle Buddle or nurse Betty Greer] would take them back and bath them.”
Sheehy says the home was immaculate.
“Sister Buddle did everything – she’d cook and clean and be the midwife and do the laundry, she was marvellous.”
She comments that husbands weren’t allowed past the front door.
“[Buddle] said to them, ‘you’ve done your bit, now off you go’.”
Sheehy’s grandson Jordan Sheehy was conceivably the last baby born in the home, on August 30, 1989.
Queenstown’s maternity unit was then absorbed into the new Lakes District Hospital at Frankton.
The April 8 get-together’s scheduled for noon.