Dr Emily Siedeberg-McKinnon
No records appear to have survived of the pioneering work in training midwives carried out at St Helens Hospital in Dunedin. The St Helen’s Hospitals provided early women doctors with a secure base and regular salary which was sometimes hard to achieve in general practice. Dr Emily Siedeberg-McKinnon wrote the following account of its initial years, which were subject to controversy. The account was retrieved from a storage box at the Dunedin Pioneer Women’s Hall by historian-in-residence Rachael Fraser, and edited for publication on Corpus by Dr Barbara Brookes.
Liberal Premier, Richard John Seddon established the first State Maternity Hospital in Wellington in June 1905 and called it St. Helens Hospital after the town of his birthplace In England. The hospitals were to cater for working men whose wives earned less than £4 per week and were to provide training for state-registered midwives, under the 1904 Midwives Registration Act.