Friday, May 3, 2013

Martha Taylor the midwife

Martha Taylor nee Brown is my great-grandmother. She grew up on a farm near Cobden in south-western Victoria and married Henry Taylor in 1893 when she was 19 years old.

Henry was a vegetable grower, a market gardener, and they lived at South Ecklin west of Cobden, then Cobden, also Lismore and in the Rochester district of northern Victoria. Ecklin is good farming country now but in those days the farmers had to clear an awful lot of trees and undergrowth off the land before they could start ploughing - it was hard work. And Martha worked hard too because she produced eight children and raised them all successfully. In doing so she must have learned a lot about childbirth and put the knowledge to good use by becoming a registered midwife. As far as I can work out she was a midwife for well over twenty years, using her own home as a 'private hospital'.

Martha Brown and Henry Taylor, 1893
Martha Taylor, Sylvester St, Cobden, with her chooks (chickens) and house cow.
The house in the background was her private hospital.
My friend Pam found the following entry for me when she was doing some indexing. I hadn't realised that midwives had to be registered.

Victorian Government Gazette, 26 May 1930.
It lists Martha Taylor as a registered midwife, her address, the date of her original registration (1918)
and the fact that she was involved in midwifery in 1913 (code 14b).
And I found this notice in the local newspaper report about council correspondence in 1917. Martha's residence is approved as a private hospital.
Camperdown Chronicle 15 Sep 1917
Martha (2nd r) and Henry Taylor (l) with family members in mid 1930s.
Martha Taylor with her daughter Dorothy Wyllie, my grandmother.
I wonder what sort of person Martha was. In the photos she looks very stern. She had dealt with some very sad events in her life, but she had also cared for a number of foster children as well as her own so must have been generous by nature I think. And I'd love to have a chat with her because I reckon she'd have some stories to tell.

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I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.

Lorraine