Historical information

This paper was read on 14 June 1965 by Dr Frank Forster at a meeting of the section of Medical History, Victorian branch, Australian Medical Association, according to Ann Tovell, who worked at the AMA and in association with Frank. It was likely that Frank Forster acquired the midwifery box belonging to Mrs Mary Howlett at the former Eastern market that was located on the corner of Bourke and Russell Streets up to the early 1960s.


Mary Howlett (1840-1922) began practising as a country midwife in 1866 in the western district of Victoria. She qualified as a 'ladies monthly nurse' in 1887 and continued to practise as a nurse and midwife until 1920.She began her six months training at the Melbourne Lying-In Hospital. She was known by many as 'Auntie', and her career spanned more than 50 years. Mrs Howlett's midwifery box and contents were given to Dr Frank Forster, and he donated them to the museum collection in 1993.

Physical description

A5 size paper transcript of lecture. Reprinted from The Medical Journal of Australia, 1965, 2. Pages are numbered 3 to 21.