“THIS will be the last one.”
That is what author and midwife Mavis Gaff-Smith says to herself after every book.
What began as a hobby of compiling the stories of midwives in her hometown has become a mission to record the fascinating history of midwives around the world.
“I’ve covered a lot and often think there isn’t much more to tell, but when I publish a book people tell me more stories that I have to record,” Mavis said.
Holding a PHD in midwifery and having worked as a nurse and midwife since 1955, Mavis is more than qualified to be telling the forgotten stories of midwives.
In her latest release, Midwives and Paddlesteamers, Mavis tells the stories of midwives along the Murray, including plenty from Echuca.
“It tells stories from the Alps to the ocean. I travelled the entire distance, visiting museums, libraries and talking to locals along the way,” Mavis said.
“There are plenty of stories in there but I have already heard stories that can be part of another book.”
Mavis, who still works as a midwife at 77, said she writes for two main reasons.
“I don’t want the history of midwifery to be lost,” she said.
“Most history you read is about men. There are so many people who wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for the work of early midwives — their stories need to be told.
“The other important reason is to give to worthy causes. All the proceeds of my books have gone to charitable causes, the money from this one will go to the Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund.”
■Books cost $34.95 each and can be obtained by emailing [email protected]