The McBride Maternity Hospital was opened by the Salvation Army on 28 January 1914 in Briar Avenue in the suburb of Medindie. The centre took over the work of the city based Adelaide Maternity Home. It was named for Mr RJ McBride, a prosperous grazier with property at Kooringa, near Burra. He had contributed £3000 to assist in the purchase of the two-storey mansion known as The Briars. The size of the premises allowed the Salvation Army not only to provide accommodation and care for single mothers and their babies, but also to offer a private maternity hospital service to the general public. This additional service helped to raise well-needed funds allowing the Army to continue its care of the needy. The hospital was also recognised as a training centre for obstetric nursing. In 1919 the birth of quadruplets made the news and donations were collected through The Register newspaper for the three surviving babies.
Unmarried mothers who gave birth at McBride were expected to remain there for three months. During this time they received general antenatal and postnatal care as well as assistance in learning to care for their babies. It was an unwritten policy of the hospital that no woman was discharged from care until a home or 'situation' had been arranged for her and/or her baby. Many babies were adopted from McBride and shortly after the passing of a new Adoption Act in 1967, the hospital was registered as an official adoption agency. The Matron acted as the adoption officer.
With beds for fifty patients the hospital was often filled to capacity. However, by the 1970s alternative care was available for single pregnant women and demand decreased. In 1974 the hospital adapted to this new situation by also providing care for patients convalescing from surgery or major illness.
This new aspect of the institution's work became more and more important and, as the hospital was no longer exclusively a maternity hospital, in 1975 McBride Maternity Hospital changed its name to McBride Hospital.
31 August 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/sa/SE00131
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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