New parents struggling with the demands of a new baby can now access specialist support with the opening of the Tresillian Family Care Centre in Queanbeyan.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Southern NSW Bronnie Taylor MLC officially opened the Centre on Monday (29 October). The name ‘Tresillian’ has been synonymous with baby care since 1918.
The Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies was formed at the Sydney Town Hall, sparked by soaring infant mortality rates and a desperate shortage of health services for new mothers.
The First World War had left many young mothers widowed. In the same period, 47,000 babies lost their lives through poverty, disease and lack of hygiene.
The Society’s primary aim back then was to make a difference to the high mortality rate of children under the age of five. In 1919 the Society was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in New South Wales. Then in 1921, Queen Mary became the Patron of the Society, until her death in March 1953. On 4th August 1954 Queen Elizabeth II, who had just visited Australia, became the Patron of the organisation.
In 1921, Dr Margaret Harper, the first Medical Director established an “Infant Welfare Training School at 2 Shaw Street, Petersham to educate Baby Health Centre nurses so they could be more effective in helping parents address basic problems such as a lack of hygiene and immunisation programs.
A baby clinic for parents also opened. The clinic at Petersham had been named “Tresillian” by the previous owners who originated from the village of the same name in Cornwall, England and from then on, the Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies was referred to as “Tresillian”. When the Willoughby Centre was purchased in 1927 the name was retained and this Centre became known as Tresillian North.
The Centre, located at the Karabar Community Health Centre on Southbar Road, is the result of a partnership between Tresillian, the NSW Government and the Southern NSW Local Health District and will focus on supporting local parents struggling with the demands of a new baby. The centre will offer specialist child and family health support services for parents needing a helping hand.
Earlier this year, the NSW Government announced $2.2m in funding for five new regional Tresillian Centres including in Queanbeyan.
“Parenting is an incredible experience, but it can be hard work,” Ms Taylor said.
“Currently parents need to travel to access specialist support services. We are pleased to partner with the Tresillian to open a new Family Care Centre in Queanbeyan meaning help is now close to come.
“This important initiative is aligned with the NSW Rural Health Plan which emphasises the need for service development in maternal, child and family healthcare in rural and regional areas.”
Member for Monaro John Barilaro said, “Navigating your way through the early days of being a mum or dad is daunting.”
“Thousands of families across the state owe their sanity to Tresillian nurses and I’m proud that Queanbeyan families will now be able to access the same helping hand as others have enjoyed,” he said.
Tresillian’s CEO, Robert Mills said the new centre in Queanbeyan will provide parents with specialist consultations on issues such as breastfeeding support, infant settling, toddler behaviour and perinatal anxiety and depression.
‘The Tresillian team is thrilled to be able to support more families across NSW, and we thank the NSW Government for their support with this.’ Mr Mills said.
“The presence of Tresillian’s specialist child and family health expertise, in Queanbeyan and surrounding communities will also enhance the capacity of the Southern NSW rural health workforce with professional development and clinical support.”
In the next few months Tresillian will be expanding its regional footprint to include Centres at Taree, Dubbo, Broken Hill and Coffs Harbour in addition to the current Family Care Centres at Queanbeyan, Nepean, Belmore, Willoughby, Wollstonecraft, Wagga Wagga and Lismore and Albury Wodonga.