The Open Door was a maternity home run by the Salvation Army in North Fremantle from 1903 to 1922. From 1911, it was also known as Hopetoun. Originally established for 'unmarried mothers', The Open Door also provided general maternity services, with single and married women in separate sections. In 1922, Salvation Army's maternity services moved to a donated property and became known from then as Hillcrest Maternity Home.
The Open Door maternity home was established by the Salvation Army at premises leased from William A. Saw on a sand hill in Swan Street, North Fremantle. It was also known as Dr Saw's Home at that time. 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. A memoir written by Captain J. Fuller recalls that the site was later resumed by the government 'for railway tracks to the North Wharf'.
In 1910 the hospital moved to Harvest Road, on a site previously occupied by the Salvation Army's 'Prison Gate' service. From at least 1911, the name 'Hopetoun' was also used for the maternity home, which by at least 1910 included married women among its maternity admissions. However, the name 'The Open Door' continued to be used until at least 1918.
By 1919, 105 babies had been born at the hospital.
A 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 Maternity Home, the previous property was used, for a time,
as the children's Home part of the Hillcrest Midwifery and Toddlers' Home.
In 1924, the building became an aged-care facility called Hopetoun Aged Women's Retreat.
Sources used to compile this entry: '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; 'Opening of the Maternity Home', The War Cry, 14 May 1910; ; ; 'The Chief in the West', The Victory, 1 October 1919, pp. 293-294; '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; Battye, JS, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia (1912), Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, 1985. Battye (writing in 1911) referred to the maternity hospital as ‘Hopetoun’. Vol 2, p.101.; Kirkham, Lt-Col John C, Southern Soup-Soap-Salvation, a compendium of Salvation Army Social Services in the Australian Southern Territory, The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory Territorial Archives and Museum, 2003. ‘Hopetoun Aged Women’s Retreat’ (p.73) has information about the building which had been used by The Open Door maternity home until 1922 and as a children’s Home until around 1924.; New Maternity Home [Document], Date: 18 April 1903; Select Committee of the Legislative Council, Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill, Government Printer, Perth, 1918. The Salvation Army’s maternity home at North Fremantle was named as ‘The Open Door’ in evidence given to the Select Committee (pp.28, 39-40).; Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA.: 'Extract. Women's Social Work in Western Australia', Summer St. Rescue Home closed social work file 'Hillcrest Senior Citizens' Residence History', Hillcrest photos file.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 17 February 2014, Last modified: 11 September 2018