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1960 - 1970

Oct 1961 (ASB)

A gift of a 23inch TV is made to National Women's from the estate of the late Mrs Ethel Ross Gregson.


Cornwall Hospital reaches 4,200 births since it started providing maternity care in 1946.

March 1962

The hospital announces the intention to retain the National Women's name for the new hospital presently under construction behind Greenlane Hospital. A statement is made that when opened, the new hospital will make a significant contribution to NZs maternity service.

4 July 1962 (Tamaki Times-Pictorial)

The new National Women's Hospital on the Greenlane site is nearing completion. Costing nearly £3.3 million it includes an isolation block for infectious obstetrical and gynaecological patients. A large unit for premature babies, run by skilled staff, is to serve a wide area in the Auckland Hospital Board's district. As the hospital is also recognised as being substantially a national obstetrical and gynaecological institution, the Government agrees to contribute two-thirds (approximately £2 million) towards the cost.

This article explains that the pattern of maternity services in NZ was set in the 1920s with the establishment of free antenatal clinics and public maternity hospitals and a stated policy of attaining `an aseptic technique for midwifery that would be accepted as the standard by the medical professions generally’. These three developments are reported as being due to more mothers having their babies in hospital. In 1927, the proportion of women having a baby in a hospital was less than 59%. By 1962 99% of women were giving birth in hospital. In 1927 when local rates and patient's fees were the main sources of revenue for hospital boards, the Government's contribution to Board's was reported to be £705,000 each year. By 1962, hospital boards were totally financed by the Government. Expenditure for the year ending March 31 1962 from the Consolidated and Social Security Funds for public hospitals amounted to £27,401,039.

July 1962

Professor Carey announces his resignation as the Head of the Postgraduate School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology attached to National Women's (to take effect from 31 Jan 1963). He publicly criticises the Auckland Hospital Board as well as the University of Auckland for allowing the present system of dual control of the hospital by the Medical Superintendent and the profession to arise. A number of articles refuting this criticism appear in the NZ Herald 18.9.62 and 22.9.62 as well as the 21.8.62 Auckland Star.

December 1962

National Women's makes international headlines as the first successful pre-birth transfusion in the world is carried out by Sir William Liley on unborn baby Grant McLeod. This technique of intra-uterine blood transfusions of Rh negative blood to Rh positive babies with Rh negative mothers soon became used world wide.

12 March 1963

The Cornwall Park Trustees give the `Spirit of Peace’ statue to be erected at the new National Women's Hospital.

The trustees had originally proposed that the statue be placed at the main entrance but agreed for it to be located elsewhere in the grounds after a 6-man panel felt that the statue was incompatible with the modern architectural features of the new building.

The statue is the work of British sculptor Pearce Frank Connelly, and formerly stood in the grounds of a villa in Florence. It was bought by the Cornwall Park Trustees at the request of the late Sir John Logan Campbell in 1909. The statue stood in Cornwall Park near the kiosk before being moved to National Women's.

April 1963

National Women's announces the arrival of the 50,000th baby since the hospital started delivering babies on the Cornwall Park site in 1946.

April 1963

The hospital architects donate a pool, seat and paving work for the entrance. The plans for a commissioned sculpture is abandoned due to lack of public interest.

August 1963

International acclaim for research carried out at National Women's that perfects pre-birth blood transfusion techniques and saves the life of a baby boy. This is believed to be the first time this procedure has ever been successfully carried out.

National Women's opening ceremony, 14th February 1964

2 February 1964 (NZH)

The blessing of the new National Women's Hospital took place on the afternoon of 2.2.64 in the presence of the Auckland Hospital Board Chairman Mr THC Caughey, Board members and officials. The hospital was dedicated and blessed by the Bishop of Auckland, the Rt Rev. E.A. Gowing with the assistance of the Rev OT Baragwanath, Minister of St David's Church.

6 February 1964

The Herald reports on the commissioning of a £150 gold cup to mark the opening of National Women's. The cup is to be known as the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Cup and is to be presented for nurse training awards. (The Queen Mother was to have opened the new hospital but is unable to due to an attack of appendicitis.) The cup is a gift from the hospital architects, Thorpe, Cutter, Pickmere, Douglas and Partners, and is to be handed to the Governor-General Sir Bernard Fergusson, at the opening ceremony.

14 February 1964 (ASB, NZ Nursing Journal, NZ Herald)

The Ceremonial Opening of the new National Women's Hospital is held on Friday at 3pm. 1,000 people attend the ceremony. The hospital is officially opened by His Excellency the Governor-General of New Zealand, Brigadier Sir Bernard Fergusson who is accompanied by Lady Fergusson.

Their excellencies are met within the courtyard of the hospital by the Chairman of the Auckland Hospital Board, Mr THC Caughey and Mrs Caughey. The official party were then presented to their Excellencies. The band of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, Northern Military District, then played the National Anthem. Miss Margaret Miller, the Matron at the time of the move from the Cornwall site to the new hospital presented Lady Fergusson with a bouquet of flowers.

Addresses followed from Mr Caughey; the Honourable DN McKay, Minister of Health; Sir Douglas Robb, Chancellor, University of Auckland and His Excellency, the Governor-General.

Sir Bernard Fergusson tells those present for the ceremony that the establishment of the new hospital is an important step in the medical progress of New Zealand. He acknowledged that voluntary societies, the Government and administrators of the medical profession had worked together to build up a structure of medical care of which National Women's was the latest and proudest example. He acknowledged the work of the Hospital Board chairman, Mr THC Caughey and the medical superintendent-in-chief of the board, Dr WE Henley. The Minister of Health, Mr McKay, said that great credit must go to the staff who worked in the temporary facilities established soon after the end of the Second World War.

The Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother gold cup was then presented by Mr KW Douglas on behalf of the architects, to his Excellency in the absence of the Queen Mother.

The official party then moved through the main doors of the hospital. Sir Bernard Fergusson unveiled the commemorative plaque, and he and Lady Fergusson sign the visitor's book. They then make a tour of the hospital and spend a considerable time looking at various sections of the hospital. During the tour, Dr AW Liley, Mrs R McLeod and her son Grant Liley Mcleod, the first baby to be given a successful pre-birth (intra-uterine) blood transfusion are presented to the Governor-General and Lady Ferguusson. At the completion of the tour, afternoon tea is served in the Nurses Home Cafeteria.

26 February 1964

The Weekly News publishes a photographic display of the new National Women's announcing that the new hospital combines an essential health service with facilities for medical study and research in obstetrics and gynaecology. The very active research unit is housed at the hospital in conjunction with the Post-Graduate School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Mary Wallace is the First Assistant and Miss Sharman the Second Assistant. Dr Robertson was the Paediatrician in charge of the newborn service. The 56 babies in the newborn service were the first to move into the new hospital. Their mothers and the maternity service moved over the following day.

The first child born at the new hospital was Jeffrey Vollebregt and the first twins were Dean and Shane Osborne. (ASB)

10 June 1964 (NZH)

Plans announced for a new Cytology Department block to be built at National Women's. The Auckland Hospital Board accepts a tender for the construction of the building for £31,999 from Gibson and O’Connor Ltd.

30 June 1964 (Auckland Star)

The Auckland Hospital Board decides that the Professorial Research Block will now be built on top of the isolation block, at present under construction, instead of as a separate building as originally planned. The Board seeks ministerial authority to prepare sketch plans for the block which will be nearly 13,000 square feet in area.

October 1964

The £372,000 isolation block at National Women's is ready for use.

27 July 1965

Ann and Sam Lawson of Auckland have quintuplets at 33 weeks. The quins are only the 5th surviving set of quins in the world and the first to be born in New Zealand.

November 1966

A foetal pulse monitor which can confirm pregnancy within 3 months is purchased for the hospital.

November 1966

National Women's accepts community nurses for training for the first time.

September 1967

Mrs Jean Alexander of Auckland gives birth to indentical Quadruplets at National Women's.  The 1st set of indentical quadruplets in New Zealand.  

15 February 1968

Official opening ceremony for the new St Helen's Hospital in Linwood Ave, Mt Albert. Joan Coles transfers from the Pitt Street site as the first Matron of the new hospital. There will only be a total of 3 Matrons at the new hospital before it is closed in 1990. Joan Coles was followed by Win Perkinson and the Matron when the hospital closed was Ann Nightingale.

March 1968

The new centre for the Auckland University Post-Graduate School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology opens at National Women's. This replaces the existing quarters which are described as cramped. The three wings added to the hospital to house the Post-Graduate School cost £404,000.

March 1968

Red Cross volunteers offer beauty care to women who are patients at National Women's.

June 1968

A new serum is discovered to help rh negative mothers who have an rh positive baby. The first serum processed in Auckland has already been injected into rh negative women at National Women's who are pregnant with an rh positive baby.


Mary Wallace becomes Matron at National Women's when Margaret Miller leaves to take up a position at Auckland Hospital.

March 1969 (ASB)

The new research centre for the Auckland University Post-graduate School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at National Women's is officially opened.

November 1969

A table mat made by Crimean War soldiers for Florence Nightingale is presented to the hospital in accordance with the wishes of the late Mrs J Searle.

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