Historical information

The object has been identified as a vaginal (douche) irrigator. The glass tube is similar in appearance, however, to one of the four types of Brewer's glass cannula used in direct blood transfusion. (Reference Down Bros, page 958A)


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

Glass tube, which functions as a vaginal irrigator. There is a curve in the tube, and it gets wider at proximal (far) end. The distal (near) end is round and blunt for attachment to rubber tubing.