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Western Australia - Organisation

Hillcrest Maternity Home (1922 - 1974)

  • Hillcrest exterior view, front

    Hillcrest exterior view, front, 1922 - 1974, courtesy of Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file.
    Details

From
1922
To
1974
Categories
Adoption Agency, Children's Home, Home, Maternity Home and Salvation Army
Alternative Names
  • Hillcrest Maternity Hospital (also known as)
  • Hillcrest Maternity Hospital and Hostel for Unmarried Mothers (also known as, 1960s)
  • Hillcrest Midwifery Hospital and Toddlers Home (also known as, 1922)
  • Maternity Home, North Fremantle (also known as, 1922 - 1974)
  • Salvation Army Maternity Home, North Fremantle (also known as, 1922 - 1974)
  • Salvation Army Maternity Hospital (also known as)

Hillcrest Maternity Home in North Fremantle was opened by the Salvation Army in 1922. It continued the previous maternity home, which had been known as the 'Open Door' and 'Hopetoun'. Young women who were wards of the state were admitted, and also private maternity patients. Many babies were adopted from Hillcrest. In 1974, maternity services ceased and the Home was used for aged care.

Details

Hillcrest was a maternity home in North Fremantle that was run by the Salvation Army. The hospital first opened in 1903 as 'The Open Door' maternity home at premises leased from Mr William A. Saw in Swan Street, North Fremantle. Newspaper articles at the time show that the name was chosen because the Salvation Army wanted to open the door to 'unmarried mothers' who might be shunned by society.

In 1910 the hospital moved to Harvest Road, on a site previously occupied by the Salvation Army's 'Prison Gate' service. The property next door, 'Hill Crest', was donated to the Maternity Home by Mrs Francis Pearse in late 1920 or early 1921. When the maternity services moved into Hillcrest, the previous property was used, for a time, as a Children's Home until 1924, when it became an aged-care facility.

Hillcrest moved to the corner of Kings Park Road and Ventnor Avenue, West Perth, during World War II and returned to the Harvest Road site afterwards.

In a history of Hillcrest written in 1995, information from hospital records relating to 1952-1957 gave insight into the general services offered to the community, and to single mothers:

2,113 Mothers have been nursed in the Hospital and 367 unmarried Mothers have been cared for in their time of distress, and helped to return to normal rightful living. Hillcrest Senior Citizens' Residence History, 1995

Hillcrest functioned as a general maternity hospital serving the southern suburbs, but its principal purpose was the admission of 'deserted wives, unmarried mothers, regardless of age, creed or colour'.

A fundraising pamphlet from the 1960s described Hillcrest's hostel for 'unmarried mothers', showing the high rate of adoptions:

During the last year the Unmarried Mothers section admitted 170 women and girls, 134 babies were born at the hospital and 93 adoptions were carried through. Serving the community in Western Australia, published 1966-1969

The year referred to is unknown, but would have been between 1966 and 1969. The document reported that 462 babies in total were born at Hillcrest in that year; so more than one third of all births at that period were from single mothers, with around 70 percent of those babies adopted. At the time, this was seen as a positive outcome.

By 1974, maternity services at Hillcrest had ceased.

Hillcrest re-opened in 1978 as an aged-care residence and continued in that role until 2008 when the facility closed.

Events

1922 - 1940?
Address - Hillcrest Maternity Home was located at 23 Harvest Road, North Fremantle. Location: North Fremantle
1940? - 1945?
Address - Hillcrest Maternity Home was located at the corner of King's Park Road and Ventnor Avenue, West Perth. Location: West Perth
1945? - 1974
Address - Hillcrest Maternity Home was located at 23 Harvest Road, North Fremantle. Location: North Fremantle

Publications

Books

  • Hetherington, Penelope, Paupers, Poor Relief and Poor Housing in Western Australia 1829 to 1910, UWA Publishiing, Crawley, Western Australia, 2009. p.132. Details

Book Sections

  • Grant, Beryl, 'Ngala', in Gregory, Jenny and Jan Gothard [editors] (eds), Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, W.A., 2009, pp. 635-636. p.636. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • 'Children's Home Fremantle', The War Cry, 8 May 1921. Details
  • 'Opening of Aged Women's Retreat, North Fremantle, W.A.', The War Cry, 1924. Details
  • 'Welcomed to West Australia', The War Cry, 25 September 1926. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Hillcrest, North Fremantle, 1921
Title
Hillcrest, North Fremantle, 1921
Type
Image
Date
1921
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file

Details

SA Hospital North Fremantle
Title
SA Hospital North Fremantle
Type
Image
Date
1922 - 1974
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file

Details

Hillcrest in North Fremantle
Title
Hillcrest in North Fremantle
Type
Image
Date
1922 - 1974
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file

Details

Hillcrest exterior view, side (II)
Title
Hillcrest exterior view, side (II)
Type
Image
Date
1922 - 1974
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file

Details

Hillcrest exterior view, side (I)
Title
Hillcrest exterior view, side (I)
Type
Image
Date
1922 - 1974
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file

Details

Hillcrest exterior view, front
Title
Hillcrest exterior view, front
Type
Image
Date
1922 - 1974
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file

Details

Matron and sisters at the Salvation Army Hillcrest maternity home, North Fremantle, with some new arrivals
Title
Matron and sisters at the Salvation Army Hillcrest maternity home, North Fremantle, with some new arrivals
Type
Image
Date
15 February 1945
Source
Western Mail

Details

Hillcrest Hospital 1958, old and new wings
Title
Hillcrest Hospital 1958, old and new wings
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Hillcrest photos file

Details

Cornelie Home, Lincoln Street
Title
Cornelie Home, Lincoln Street
Type
Document
Date
2003
Source
Salvation Army Southern Territory
Note
The Cornelie Home maternity program was transferred to ‘The Open Door’ in Fremantle, which became Hillcrest.

Details

Hopetoun Maternity Hospital, Harvest Road, North Fremantle [later, 'Hillcrest']
Title
Hopetoun Maternity Hospital, Harvest Road, North Fremantle [later, 'Hillcrest']
Type
Document
Date
2003
Source
Salvation Army Southern Territory

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Western Australia post office directory', 1893-1949, http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au/explore-discover/wa-heritage/post-office-directories. Post Office Directory 1920. ‘Hill Crest’, the home of Francis Pearse JP, is shown to be next door to the Salvation Army Maternity Home (p.84). Mrs Pearse donated Hill Crest to the maternity home, which afterwards was known as Hillcrest.; 'The Salvation Army [Its Social Work. Maternity Home Opened at North Fremantle]', The West Australian, The West Australian, 16 May 1903, p. 9, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article24823964; ; 'A maternity home at North Fremantle', The West Australian, The West Australian, 26 April 1910, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26255353; ; 'Children's Home Fremantle', The War Cry, 8 May 1921; 'The Salvation Army [Annual Meeting. The Year's Social Work]', The West Australian, The West Australian, 19 April 1921, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27961651; 'Opening of Aged Women's Retreat, North Fremantle, W.A.', The War Cry, 1924; ; Hetherington, Penelope, Paupers, Poor Relief and Poor Housing in Western Australia 1829 to 1910, UWA Publishiing, Crawley, Western Australia, 2009. p.132.; Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, http://signposts.cpfs.wa.gov.au/pdf/pdf.aspx; Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA: "Serving the community in Western Australia", 1966?-1969? (fundraising pamphlet) Hillcrest photos file - 'Last Salvation Army Activity at Hillcrest, 2008' Australia', photograph; document titled 'Hillcrest Senior Citizens' Residence History'.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser