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A visit from the Baroness to Petersham

Perhaps the most significant event of the 1970’s was the visit to Tresillian Petersham of Baroness Seear of Paddington, London in July 1975.

Baroness Seear was a Liberal Life Peer in the UK House of Lords and a strong advocate for ‘the role of working mothers in today’s society’. She was also an author and former public relations officer, and had written numerous books and articles on women’s right and women in the workforce. Tresillian invited the Baroness to visit Australia during International Women’s Year to officially open the new wing at Petersham, and she accepted (with the cost borne by the Tresillian). Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee meetings were set up at Parliament House for the Baroness, the President, Mr F. J. Guthrie and the Medical Director at the time, Dr John Quoyle. A press conference followed resulting in wide media coverage for Tresillian.

The new wing at Petersham featured modern fully self-contained rooms for mothers. New nurseries were also part of the upgrade along with painting of the facility. The new wing was completed in 1975 and named the Kathleen Winning Wing to commemorate her significant contribution. It was officially opened on 31st July, 1975 by Baroness Seear.

Dr Kathleen Winning was recognised in this way because of the dedicated service she had given in the post of Medical Director from 1951 to 1970. She was a formidable force within Tresillian promoting breastfeeding as the ideal way to develop a close relationship with baby and encourage ‘understanding and love in a home where child-rearing is a happy, welcome function and not a nuisance’, as quoted in the 1970 Tresillian Annual Report.

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