Sister Mary Kirkland established the St Ives Private Maternity Hospital at 3 College Street in early 1937.
Sister Kirkland, one of the best-qualified midwifery nurses in Launceston, passed the Australasian Trained Nurses' Association (ATNA) examination at the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women, St John Street, in 1917.
She gained the highest marks for practical nursing and received the Kate Gunn bag donated by Mrs Mary Gunn of Claremont.
After a three-year probationary period at the Launceston General Hospital, she undertook further studies and, in 1924, received both the William Barnes prize and the Hospital Badge.
Sister Kirkland engaged in private nursing, delivering babies in people's homes, and relieved the obstetric nurse at the Memorial Hospital in Scottsdale for a short time in 1928. She had previously lived at Bridport and was well-known in the district.
In December 1936, she attended a friend's wedding in Melbourne and bought 3 College Street, announcing in the Christmas Day edition of The Examiner that she would be opening the St Ives Maternity Hospital there in the middle of January.
The hospital offered private and semi-private wards and employed other trained nurses to help deliver babies for more than 12 years. Many grateful parents announced the arrival of their babies in The Examiner.
The last baby to be born there was Gregory John Shipp in June 1949. The Examiner photographed the baby with his mother Beryl Shipp and Sister Kirkland on the front steps of St Ives.
The Queen Victoria Hospital then took it over as a convalescent home for mothers and babies, with Sister Kirkland in charge.
The seven beds in the annexe allowed the maternity hospital to make more room available for new patients during the post-war baby boom.
In March 1952, Sister Kirkland sailed on the Orion from Melbourne for an eight-month holiday in England and Scotland.
She returned to St Ives in November 1952 but suffered a serious accident in March 1953 and spent nine months as a patient in the Launceston General Hospital.
St Ives closed during that time and Sister Mary Kirkland died suddenly on November 1 1954 at the age of 66.
She had been a midwife for more than 40 years.
St Ives was advertised for auction by JW Roxburgh & Sons in mid-December 1954.
The large "splendidly situated" property offered a substantial brick villa with six rooms, a sun-room, offices, a modern bathroom, inside lavatories and a three-roomed weatherboard addition.
Outbuildings comprised a separate two-roomed chalet used for accommodating nursing staff, a drying room, laundry and outside lavatories. There was also provision for the storage of wood and coal and a Black Jack water heater.
St Ives was passed in at £5000 but, after negotiations, it was sold privately to Frederick James Febey, who divided it into three flats.
From 2002, new owners sympathetically restored St Ives and converted it back into a family home.
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