Infant Welfare Centre

Infant Welfare Centres (I.W.C.) began elsewhere in Victoria in 1917, it was not until 1936, and thanks to a persistent Committee, that one was set up in Wodonga. Temporary accommodation was provided by Mr A Schlink in premises adjoining his general store in High Street.  Average weekly attendance was six babies for that year.

Sister McKnight of Albury, who took on the running of the service, donated her salary to the building fund in her first six month.

In 1936 G. Harris of the Committee wrote to the Council applying for a grant of 33ft. of Council land in High Street for the purpose of building an IWC. The Council agreed to the request provided a building was erected within two years.

A proposal was for a combined CWA and IWC and by 1939 a contract had been let to Messrs McCullough and Dunstan, at an approximate cost of £940 (inclusive of architect’s and electricians fees).  It was proposed to finance the project on a guarantee of a district resident, which comprised £600.  The difference between cost and guarantee was to be raised by the committee including by way of a Queen Carnival, golfing tournaments and horse race meetings.

In 1939 IWC attendance rose to 23 weekly due mainly to soldiers’ wives coming to town when Bandiana Military Camp opened.

Sister E Willett worked as the Infant Welfare Nurse in Wodonga in the 1940’s to 50’s. In 1948 Infant Welfare Sisters were paid £7/7/6 per week, casual employment 5/3 per hour, travelling allowance of 6d. per mile and uniform allowance 3/6 per week.

An inspector’s report in 1952 stated “The rooms are small and very cramped, there is no protection for prams. Warmth is supplied by kerosene heater and radiator”.  He suggested guards (around heaters) be provided for toddlers. A further suggestion was that Sister Willett obtain permission to visit the Maternity Hospital in Albury weekly to acquire birth notifications for Wodonga residents.

The High Street building was demolished to make way for the new Post Office, the IWC had previously relocated to Stanley Street adjacent to the swimming pool.