Mistress of her Profession
Colonial Midwives of Sydney 1788-1901


Before any official midwifery training was instigated in New South Wales numerous women worked as midwives. Many were untrained and practised independently but a few had overseas midwifery qualifications which gave them prestige in the practice of their craft.
In the days of secret abortions and baby farming, before modern medical procedures saved the lives of thousands of women and babies, midwives emerged from the ranks of convicts and free immigrants as entrepreneurs. Their business activities, attitudes, work ethic and experiences formed the foundations that helped to shape midwifery for future generations.
This book weaves the stories of nine midwives into an account of the development of midwifery training in New South Wales. The women’s lives span the nineteenth century and provide a fascinating perspective of maternity care and life in colonial Sydney.

About the Author:

Lesley Potter, Honorary Associate, Nursing History Unit, Nursing School, University of Sydney is a retired nurse and midwife. She worked for 40 years at various Sydney hospitals in management, education and clinical midwifery. She has eclectic academic qualifications: BA (theology), MA (English Literature) and PhD (History). She is currently President of the Randwick & District Historical Society and Honorary Archivist at the Australian College of Nursing.

See what others Say:

Book Launch by Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward,  CEO, Australian College of Nursing

The Australian, 16 September 2017 review by Babette Smith

ISBN 9780648061601 Category