Artwork Honours The Late Joan Kirner AC

01 October 2018

Striking artwork honouring Victoria’s first female premier and the contribution of all Victorian women will take pride of place at the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today unveiled the statue, “Woman”, which will become the centrepiece of the state-of-the-art hospital’s foyer.

The $200 million hospital, being built by the Andrews Labor Government, is nearly complete. It will feature 20 maternity delivery rooms, 237 beds, 39 special care nursery cots, four theatres and additional clinics.

It will mean more women in Melbourne’s west will be able to give birth and access children’s services closer to home.

Standing four metres tall, the bold blue statue is affectionately nicknamed “Joy”. The creation is inspired by the late Joan Kirner AC’s life and achievements.

Finely crafted pictures and quotes pay homage to Ms Kirner’s tireless passion for championing women and children. The statue’s unique shape represents strength, health, fertility and creation.

The rare and vulnerable plants that adorn the artwork pay tribute to Ms Kirner’s environmental passions, including her work with Landcare and her driving force behind the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.

Three spectacular tapestries by internationally-renowned Australian Tapestry Workshop have also been unveiled, which will take patients and their families on a trip through time to celebrate the rich contribution of women to Melbourne’s west.

The tapestries are inspired by the Ruth and Maurie Crowe Archive at the Victoria University Special Collections Library in Footscray, which documents the history of social activism in urban Melbourne. They pay tribute to the pioneering women who have made enormous contributions to Melbourne’s working west, including Joan Kirner.

The tapestry display features tributes to renowned publications Declaration of the Rights of the Child and Women of the West, which highlight journey of Sunshine women and their families.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“My friend Joan Kirner was an inspiration to us all and a fierce campaigner for Melbourne’s west, so it’s fitting we honour her legacy in this special way.”

“This flagship new hospital will offer world-class paediatric and maternity services – just some of the many things Joan Kirner cared deeply about.”

Quote attributable to Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman

“The Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital will make a world of difference for families in the west – a community Joan Kirner truly adored.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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