Historical information

Sister Snyders is based at RDNS Essendon Centre. She is a trained midwife working in the RDNS Domiciliary Infant and Maternal Care (DIMC), section and is attending a recently born baby in her home to give Post-Natal care. Often mothers and babes came home early from hospital, many after 24 hours of birth, and RDNS Sisters attended for several days to check babies progress, including - colour, feeding regime, weight, take a PKU test and give any advise needed to the mother. They also gave Post-Natal care to the mother.


In August 1893 Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), commenced a Midwifery Service with Nurse Fowler, who was trained in General nursing and Midwifery nursing, being the first Midwife employed. Mothers were assessed for suitability of a home birth or if they required delivery at the Women’s Hospital. The Midwife worked in conjunction with the Doctors at the Women’s Hospital and if a complication arose before or after birth the patient was transferred to their care. Following birth, the Midwife gave Post-Natal care to both the mother and babe commencing with visits twice a day. In 1898 the service ceased due to lack of funds but recommenced in 1906, and in the August 1925 Annual Report the number of MDNS home births was recorded at 478. MDNS built the After-Care Home and a pioneering Anti-Natal Clinic was opened in 1930. The last Ante-Natal clinic was held there in December 1951 and the MDNS Midwifery service ceased in February 1952. MDNS established Melbourne's first Family Planning Clinic in 1934.
In 1964 MDNS commenced a Post-Natal service with General and Midwifery trained MDNS Sisters working from a room on the ground floor at the Footscray Hospital Nurses quarters, and visiting early discharged Footscray Hospital maternity cases at home. Later, as Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), this service was extended and renamed as Domiciliary Infant and Maternal Care, (DIMC) service operating from most Centres and visiting early discharged, often 24 hours after birth, maternity cases from hospitals to give Post-natal care to the mother and babe. Many of the RDNS Sisters who carried out DIMC visits also had their Triple i.e. Infant and Child Welfare Certificate, though Midwifery trained nurses also made visits.

Physical description

This black and white photograph shows a close up view of Sister (Sr.) Mary-Ann Snyders from Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), who is standing and cradling a recently born baby in the crook of her left arm; her supporting arm extends along the babe and her right arm is under babe. Sr. Snyders has short dark hair and is wearing a white gown over her uniform. She is smiling down at the babe, who has dark hair and is wearing a check bib over a white nightdress. To the left, voile curtains are seen over a window and in the background, part of an open patterned curtain is seen.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton LW 4