The Baby Weighing In At Berowra

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Image courtesy of Elizabeth Miller

Berowra and Berowra Heights after World War 11 (late 1940s and into 1950s) became an area of very fast population growth.  Quarter acre blocks of land sold for $140 to $200 and a labourer’s wage was approximately $12 per week.

From a population of about 500 the area began to enlarge as many couples moved into cosy garages, until building supplies became easier to get. And so came the babies! The new mums often needed advice and support and that’s where the Karitane Mobile Clinic Bus was a blessing.

Berowra at the time had no doctors (Dr Rich came later) and no chemists so the mums would catch Corrigans bus to Hornsby. The Karitane sister set up a room at the CWA Hall in Hornsby Park and that’s where Berowra mums could have their babies checked and gain advice.

One such mum from Woodcourt Rd, Berowra was Kath Molyneaux who had done the trip often with her son Chris. She made enquiries about the chances of the Karitane Clinic coming to Berowra and was told that if she could guarantee at least 10 mothers fortnightly and that all would contribute one shilling and 9 pence (18c) to defray costs, then the Clinic would come.

Kath set out trudging the rutted and muddy streets of Berowra seeking out the necessary number of mums. She was successful and so from about 1951 the Clinic would come to Berowra Heights and park on the “Open Air Pictures Block” (the present Uniting Church location). The tennis court had a shed and I’m told, on rainy days whilst mums were waiting, they’d shelter there.

By 1952 the contribution for the clinic was 2 shillings (20c) and by 1958 it had risen to 3 shillings (30c) per visit.

Down at Berowra the Bus Clinic was held beside the Anglican Rectory near the old Netball Courts. It came there fortnightly on Wednesdays from 9am to 12 noon. After the Methodist Church was begun (on the theatre site) in 1962 the “Berowra Junction” (“Crossroads” to us) Clinic was from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. By the late 1960s the bus was parked either outside the Butcher’s shop, (part of HomeBiz now) or by the old pine trees on Berowra Waters Rd between the Crossroads and the Barnetts Rd start.

Finally, Hornsby Council built and opened the Berowra Baby Health Centre in December, 1973 at 122 Berowra Waters Rd. So ended about 20 years of sterling service from the Ku-ring-gai Karitane Mobile Clinic for the mums and babies of Berowra and Berowra Heights.

Shirley Collins

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One thought on “The Baby Weighing In At Berowra

  1. maryjoe7 says:

    Thanks for a fascinating and detailed account.

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