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Truby King’s women: Four Australian case studies

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 12:41 authored by Mein Smith, P
Infant welfare work by women supporters of the Truby King system for the feeding and care of babies included initiatives by nurses who conveyed his routines along the trade routes of Empire. After the First World War, Dr Truby King’s appeal as an infant welfare authority was transnational, across the British world. This article analyses the work of four women with a nursing background who promoted the Truby King system of mothercraft in the south-eastern States of Australia in the 1920s and 1930s. It examines these nurse devotees’ motives, initiatives, and degree of success in the context of constraints imposed by medical rivalries, paternalism, and State politics. The findings offer insights into the transfer of maternal and child health policies and practices in the British Empire, as well as into the nurses’ lives and principles, and demonstrate that nurses and matrons effected transfers on the ground.


Publication title

Social History of Medicine








School of Humanities


Oxford University Press

Place of publication

Great Clarendon St, Oxford, England, Ox2 6Dp

Rights statement

© The Author 2017.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology

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