In 1917 Richmond City Council established the first baby health centre in Victoria. Collingwood followed in 1918, so while all Victoria celebrates the centenary of the maternal and child health service, Collingwood can boast its 99 years of service.
The First Annual Report of the Victorian Baby Health Centre Association 1918-1919 reported that the Collingwood Council opened the first baby health centre in March 1918 and it became so busy by the summer that a separate Fitzroy centre was opened in January 1919. The Collingwood centre was located at the Collingwood Town Hall and the nurse held sessions on three afternoons and one full day each week. One of the important aspects of the Centres was supplying milk to needy mothers.
The end of World War One in November 1918 was followed by the worldwide influenza epidemic. This reached Melbourne in January 1919 and killed many adults and children (The Royal Exhibition Building was used as a hospital for sufferers. Some 12,000 people died across Australia). The epidemic meant plans for special training for the baby health centre nurses had to be postponed.
See the following document for further information – Victorian Baby Health Centres Association First Annual Report 1918-1919.pdf
The Collingwood Baby Health Centre’s second annual meeting, described in The Argus 10 September 1920, reported that 5144 babies had attended during the year.
In 2017, the Collingwood and Abbotsford Maternal and Child Health Centre is situated in the Gahan Reserve, Park Street Abbotsford. This building was purpose built in 1926 and is rated of individual heritage significance. A second Centre was built in the Darling Gardens, Clifton Hill in 1956. This service has recently relocated to North Fitzroy .