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Creating a culturally safe place for Aboriginal women to give birth at Frankston Hospital

Alarna with baby Xavier and some of the new artwork. 

Alarna Pyper was recently the first indigenous women to give birth in the newly re-decorated Koori birth suite at Frankston Hospital.

Midwife Sue Holland, who leads Peninsula Health’s Koori Maternity Service, organised the new artwork which now adorns the walls of the room.

“After getting permission from Aboriginal Elders in the community we chose this artwork as it represented a contemporary and local community,” explains Sue.

“The artist’s explanation of her work was that it was about grounding herself in this new landscape. To me this seemed a perfect metaphor for entering motherhood and looking at these photos I also felt a very strong female energy coming through the rocks, water and flow.”

“Many families have found the artwork to have a calming and peaceful influence on their experience.”

Baluk Arts Artist Tallara Gray created the artwork right here on the Peninsula.

“The artwork was made down on a local beach where there is ochre.”

“I love exploring the beach and the works are all made in situ as a way of just sitting with country and that landscape and working with the materials.”

Artist Tallara visited the Women’s Health Unit at Frankston Hospital to see her artwork on display. 

Alarna and her partner enjoyed looking at the artwork, during the wait for baby Xavier to arrive.

“I was induced and it took six hours for anything to happen so I knew every inch of that room,” recalls Alarna.

“It was nice to have something familiar there – I have paintings all around my house – it made it feel less clinical.”

“The artwork is also really beautiful – it’s pretty and relaxing.”

Alarna says Sue and the Koori Maternity Service were a great support throughout her pregnancy.

“Sue was really good with all of the questions I had and she would call me straight after my appointments each week.”

“She’s been great.”

To access the Peninsula Health Koori Maternity Service call 0466343132.

Midwife Sue Holland (right) with Alarna, Xavier and a student midwife in the Koori Birth Suite.