Loving Kiss From A Big Brother

Child and Adolescent Health Service

Celebrating 108 years


Princess Margaret Hospital


PMH 1930 - 1949

1939 1948 War and Reconstruction

Sand bagged outpatient block - 1942
Sand bagged outpatient block - 1942

Preparation inside the hospital begins for air raids and other emergencies.

Air raid shelters and slit trenches are constructed on hospital grounds.

Vital centres including theatres, the x-ray department and dispensary are protected with trenches and sandbags.

Windows are blacked out and wired to prevent flying glass.

The Social Service Department experiences a marked increase in workload during these years as war conditions seemingly produce an increase in general maladjustment and behavioural difficulties, through the absence of a male parent on war duties. Some 341 cases were handled between 1941-1943.

The ‘effect of war’ puts strain on maintaining adequately qualified staff due to many of the hospital’s doctors being enlisted in the war effort.

‘Married lady doctors’ are called upon to assist and prove instrumental in keeping the hospital running. Inpatient numbers fall during this time as parents are unwilling to have their children admitted in fear of air raids. Many evacuate their children to country areas.

Major Murray Clarke (stationed at Northam Army Camp) develops new plastic surgery techniques and pioneers early skin grafting methods during his honorary visits to the hospital.

The hospital is recognised as a world leader in treating children with cleft lip and palate.


A new Infants Ward opens with 38 cots and overnight accommodation for four mothers.


World War II makes maintaining medical staff extremely difficult but also brings medical advances to the hospital.


A vegetable garden is established on hospital grounds to maintain supply in light of the shortages brought about by the war. Each ward is allocated a lot and nurses are required to tend to it with assistance from Perth Modern School students.


Penicillin is first used at the hospital to treat a five year old girl with staphylococcal septicaemia, a previously fatal disease.

The hospital school opens and its first full-time teacher, Kathleen Morrisby, is appointed.


The Orthoptics Clinic is established.


A permanent schoolroom is built on hospital grounds.


A poliomyelitis outbreak hits Perth. Affected children face long months of rehabilitation and convalescence. Many are left with lifelong disabilities.

The first splint shop is established for polio victims.


The Golden Age Hotel in Leederville is purchased and renovated for use as a convalescent home for polio victims and other long-term patients.

The hospital is renamed Princess Margaret Hospital for Children (PMH). It is now a 256-bed hospital and admits 5,723 patients in the year. The childhood mortality rate is 1.62 per cent (down from 12.28 per cent when the hospital first opened).

The name change is endorsed by the Board of Subscribers, who continue to fundraise for the hospital.

Moving infants into new ward 7 - 1938
Moving infants into new ward 7 - 1938
Vegetable garden
Vegetable garden
Article from The Mirror; Dying Perth baby is saved by Penicillin - 1944
Article from The Mirror; Dying Perth baby is saved by Penicillin - 1944
Kathleen Morrisby with patient - 1944
Kathleen Morrisby with patient - 1944
Veranda school lessons
Veranda school lessons
1940s Iron lung
1940s Iron lung
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