Gertrude Abbott (1846 – 1934) founder of a hospital for women
In 1894 Gertrude Abbott opened St Margaret’s Maternity Home at 561 Elizabeth Street, in the area known as Strawberry Hills. As president of the managing committee, later matron, Mrs Abbott ran the home for the next forty years. In the year 1934, 760 patients were treated and 619 births registered without any maternal deaths. It was the third largest obstetric hospital in Sydney.
Gertrude Abbott’s family moved in December 1848 to Dry Creek, South Australia, where her father ran a licensed school, then took up farming. In February 1868, taking the name Sister Ignatius of Jesus, she entered the Order of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, founded at Penola two years earlier by Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison-Woods.
At her establishments in Surry Hills, first in Bourke Street, later in Elizabeth Street, she gathered round her a small community of women who survived chiefly by dressmaking. After Tenison-Woods’s death in her care in 1889, she inherited his estate of £609.
In 1893 Mrs Abbott reputedly took in and cared for a pregnant girl brought to her by a policeman. Next year she opened St Margaret’s Maternity Home at 561 Elizabeth Street, in the area known as Strawberry Hills. She claimed that the home was ‘unsectarian in principle and working’, its chief object being ‘to provide shelter and care for unmarried girls of the comparatively respectable class’. From March to December 1894 she admitted 9 married and 23 unmarried patients; 3 nurses trained in midwifery that year and 8 were receiving instruction in 1895.
As president of the managing committee, later matron, Mrs Abbott ran the home for the next forty years.
In 1904 St Margaret’s began to treat diseases of women and opened an out-patients department; doctors also tended cases in near-by homes.
1910 Mrs Abbott leased, and later bought, from the Sacred Heart nuns a property in Bourke Street near Taylor Square, and the hospital moved there.
She died on 12 May 1934. That year its annual report recorded 760 patients treated and 619 births registered without any maternal deaths; it was the third largest obstetric hospital in Sydney.
Complete article : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A070001b.htm
Abbott, Gertrude (1846 – 1934)
St Margaret’s Hospital, Sydney
Julian Tenison-Woods https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/julian-tenison-woods
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