Colourful commemorative artworks inspired by the work and legacy of The Hon Joan Kirner AC were unveiled today by the Minister for Health, The Hon Jill Hennessy with Mr Ron Kirner.
A sculpture named ‘Joy’ and a series of three tapestries now add a feeling of celebration and optimism to the atrium of the new Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital, expected to open in May 2019.
They represent the spirit of Joan Kirner, her relentless pursuit of giving the women and children of Melbourne’s west a voice, and her commitment to healthcare and the environment.
In unveiling the artworks alongside Mr Ron Kirner, Minister for Health, The Hon Jill Hennessy said: “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 way.”
The late Joan Kirner AC was Victoria’s 42nd Premier and first Victorian female Premier. She was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council for Melbourne West and later held the seat of Williamstown.
Designed by artist Renata Slusarksi and produced by Big Fish, the blue body of the towering suspended sculpture is decorated with rare and endangered Victorian flora and fauna which Joan Kirner fought to protect in her role as Minister for Conservation. Its unique shape represents strength, fertility and creation.
The tapestries, designed by artist Emily Floyd and woven at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, celebrate the 1989 recognition of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ and the 1975 ‘Women of the West’ Publication, originally produced by the Sunshine Childcare Cooperative on the ‘needs of Sunshine women and their families.’ They pay tribute to the pioneering women who have made enormous contributions to Melbourne’s working west, among them Joan Kirner.
Others who spoke at the unveiling of the commemorative artworks included Western Health Board Chair The Hon Bronwyn Pike, Western Health Acting Executive Officer Suellen Bruce, Tapestry Foundation of Australia Deputy Chair and Trustee Anne Robertson and Lendlease General Manager Bill Alexandrakis.
The new Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital will be a multi-storey facility with 20 labour delivery rooms, 39 Special Care Nursery cots, 64 women’s inpatient beds, 32 children’s inpatient beds, four operating theatres and additional outpatient clinics.
For more information see Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital.