This tour is supported by the Australian College of Midwives.
Explore the fascinating world of rural women, birthing, midwives, brothels and paddle steamers in the beautiful Riverina area of Victoria. Follow the mighty Murray River as it courses past Wodonga, Rutherglen, Echuca and Swan Hill and learn about the rich history of midwifery via huge redgum forests, lakes, rivers and rolling plains.
The Murray River rises in the Snowy Mountains in the Australian Alps and runs down the border between Victoria and New South Wales to South Australia. One of the largest rivers of the world, it is the life-giving umbilical cord of the area. Paddle steamers transformed the area after settlement, making it a busy thoroughfare and bringing women and families to the lands along the Murray. Midwives were much needed and their skills and experience intertwined with Indigenous and settler women for many years.
This tour provides a wide range of professional visits that highlight some outstanding examples of partnerships with Aboriginal communities and successful implementation of midwifery continuity of care for rural women. Cruise on a paddle steamer, learn about the Riverina’s vivid history, see the historic Catalina Flying Boat and amazing art silos, and sample artisan food and wine. Tour leaders Nicky Leap and Pat Brodie are both respected midwives of many years standing who continue to inspire and encourage midwives nationally and worldwide to take an active interest in the profession’s long history. This tour has broad appeal and partners are very welcome.
Every booking on the tour includes a donation to the Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund, a scholarship fund for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who wish to study to become midwives. There are fewer than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives registered in Australia. The scholarships go towards some of the costs incurred when undertaking studies, which may not be covered by other funding options. www.indigenousmidwives.org.au
For almost 40 years, Nicky Leap has had a variety of roles in midwifery practice, education and research. She has published widely and is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences. Nicky is well known for her work supporting the development of midwifery models of care in both the UK and Australia.
Nicky grew up in the West Country in England where she was involved in setting up and promoting Women’s Aid Refuges. She became a National Childbirth Trust teacher in the 1970s and was a youth and community worker in London before training to be a midwife. In the 1990s, while living in South East London, Nicky was a member of the first group of self-employed midwives to contract into the NHS.
Nicky is co-author with Billie Hunter of the highly acclaimed textbook: Supporting Women for Labour and Birth: A Thoughtful Guide and The Midwife’s Tale: an oral history from handywoman to professional midwife. She is a member of the Australian College of Midwives Midwifery History group and has a strong interest in researching the lives of midwives and the women they attended in bygone days.
Pat Brodie is known, both nationally and internationally, for her leadership in a variety of roles spanning almost 40 years, in Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Pacific. She has led strategic reforms of policy, practice and regulation in maternity care, in particular, the development of midwifery continuity of care models.
Pat spent six years working with the Maternal and Child Health Initiative in PNG. Prior to this, she was the World Health Organisation’s Technical Adviser for midwifery education and regulation in PNG. In recognition of her contribution she received the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Social Inclusion Award. Over several decades Pat was state and national President of the Australian College of Midwives (ACM). She continues to have strong links with ACM, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and other agencies committed to building midwifery capacity and strengthening the profession globally. In 2012, Pat was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to midwifery and professional associations.
Nicky and Pat are both Adjunct Professors of Midwifery at UTS. With colleagues, they co-edited the recently published textbook: Midwifery Continuity of Care 2nd edition. In semi-retirement, they divide their time between living in Bristol (UK) and the Blue Mountains (Australia).
The cost of the tour is $3,460 per person sharing