The Mothercraft Home opened in New Town in 1925. The Child Welfare Association ran it until 1947 when the government took it over. Its main purpose was to give breast feeding advice to mothers but it also provided accommodation for children. In 1982, the Home moved to South Hobart. It closed around 1988.
The Mothercraft Home, established by the Child Welfare Association, opened in Flint House which was in Pirie Street, New Town. It provided inpatient help for mothers whose babies had breast feeding or dietary problems as well as accommodation for premature and boarder babies whose mothers were in hospital. It also trained mothercraft nurses.
The Child Welfare Association modelled the Mothercraft Home on similar New Zealand institutions known as Karitane Hospitals. They were established to carry out the baby care methods advocated by Dr Truby King who favoured breast feeding and a strict routine.
When the government took the Home over in 1947, it agreed to continue using it to accommodate and treat mothers and babies as well as training mothercraft nurses. The Mothercraft Home Agreement Act 1949 formalised this agreement.
However, by the 1970s, that usage had broadened to include the accommodation of wards of state with physical disabilities so that they were not sent to the Royal Derwent Hospital. In part, the Tasmanian Spastics Association established Rosebank Cottage to take those children.
By the 1980s, the Mothercraft Home looked after toddlers with intellectual disabilities up to the age of three or four and children needing palliative care. It offered respite care to children whose parents needed a break. According the Child Health Association, it also accommodated children who were 'emotionally deprived and physically abused' or 'whose parents are unable to cope with them at home'. It could cater for up to 16 children and 10 mothers. The Home took referrals from general practitioners, paediatricians, clinic sisters, the Child Protection Assessment Board, and the Department of Community Welfare. In addition, it provided a Parent/Infant Telephone Advisory Service.
On 15 March 1982, the Mothercraft Home moved to Gore Street, South Hobart.
Sources used to compile this entry: Spargo, S, A brief history of the Child Health Association (formerly the Child Welfare Association) in Tasmania, 1917-1977, Child Health Association, Hobart, 1977, 24 pp; Waters, Jill, 'Child Welfare Association', in The Companion to Tasmanian History, 2005, http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/C/Child%20Welfare%20Association.htm.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 15 February 2012, Last modified: 23 October 2018