Saturday, 8 June 2013

Sepia Saturday - Nurse Nanna

Nanna standing 2nd from right, at Beaconsfield

This post is in part inspired by the Sepia Saturday blogging prompt, and by the photos and papers shown to me by my mother earlier this year.

Nanna loved babies! 

Mum says she couldn’t get enough of us when we were little.

There weren’t many options open to unmarried country girls in their mid 20s in the mid 1920s, so Nanna and her sister trained in mothercraft nursing.

Mavis Fanshawe LONG (1906-1982) and her sister Frances Jean McVey LONG (1901-1988) moved to the city and trained at the Foundling Hospital and Infants Home in Berry Street, East Melbourne and Beaconsfield.

Berry Street was founded in 1877 by a group of Melbourne women with the help of the wife of the Governor of the time. In 1907 they implemented a formalised mothercraft nurse training program that continued until 1975. 
Nanna got her certificate in 1933 at the age of 27.
You can read more about the history of Berry Street here.

It was at Berry Street that Nanna befriended Shirley Constance GARRETT (1912-1978), a fellow nurse from nearby St Kilda. 
It was through Shirley and visiting her family that Nanna met her husband, Shirley’s brother John Raikes GARRETT (1908-1992). 
They married in 1935.

I’ve written more about Nanna, with more photos, here.

Auntie Jean (Nanna's sister) is standing third from left
Nurse Shirley Garrett

Sisters Twyford and Tulloh, and Matron H McGain


  1. I had never heard the term "mothercraft" before, but how fitting! I enjoyed your pictures and the story.

  2. I just googled Mothercraft and was astounded that it is so widely used in Canada for child care programs.
    I had never heard the term either.

  3. Great that the photos and papers were kept Jackie. What a treasure.

  4. How wonderful to have all those photos and certificates.

    I also enjoyed reading about Berry Street.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. I find the word 'Foundling' very old fashioned sounding, I am surprised that a new term had not been found by the 1930s. But I now see the term appears to have been used in the UK even until the 1950s.

  6. The fretwork on the verandahs is particularly elaborate. I wonder in what way a foundling hospital was different from an orphanage - well, I suppose soon after they were born they would be tranferred from one to the other.

  7. "Mothercraft" is an apt term that I haven't heard before.

  8. You are so lucky to have all these wonderful images. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  9. A lovely set of photos Jackie. How wonderful that both sisters trained for nursing. Foundling is a term that reminds me of children's fairy stories of long ago and conjures up images of the infant left in a basket on the church porch.

  10. A lovely account with some wonderful pictures. I was surprised that the term "mothercraft" was a new term to so many readers, as I seem to recollect mothercraft classes in Scotland certainly in the 60's and 70's for mothers-to-be.

  11. Foundling I've always associated with abandoned children. Great photos of dedicated ladies.