Midwife healed with fun and humour

Carolyn Flemington
29 September 1952 – 1 August 2007

Carolyn Flemington burst into the Coffs Harbour maternity unit in 1991, joining the staff in a casual capacity. She was the perfect casual, plenty of energy, hard working and with good availability.

Carolyn never did anything quietly or without gusto. She was willing to assist in the nursery, could be coerced into the birthing unit when necessary and ran the ward with noisy efficiency.

Carolyn quickly became a favourite to work with, not only for the energy she exuded but also her good sense of humour. A shift with Carolyn was a shift where things got done with a sense of fun, be it upfront or lurking in the background.

Carolyn started her nursing career in Tasmania and moved to Sydney, to the Royal Women’s Hospital. Here she completed her midwifery training after some post-grad work and accidentally setting fire to the hospital!

She and her new husband, David, bought a house in the Shire and spent the next three years in the maternity section at Sutherland Hospital. Carolyn was also popular here and gained the friendship of the friendly and the not so friendly.

Her commitment to midwifery was absolute and Carolyn got great enjoyment from looking after women and their babies. She was dedicated to breastfeeding and concerned for all whom she cared for.

She left Sutherland pregnant and after three children and a move to Albury she started her casual career.

After staying overnight in Coffs Harbour on their way to Expo ‘88 in Brisbane, Carolyn and David thought that Coffs could be a place they could finish raising their children away from the chills of the south.

So our adventure with the ‘senior casual’ (a self-given title) commenced. When her breast cancer was diagnosed we confidently thought that no cancer could survive all that energy.

Sadly, we were wrong, as the disease progressed in spite of Carolyn’s, and our, positive thoughts. She probably had her dark moments but to us she displayed that enduring sense of humour we had all grown to love.

Carolyn left no stone unturned in the treatment of her cancer but medical science could not save her.

A shadow lies over maternity as our ‘senior (and favourite) casual’ has sought greener pastures. At her funeral many past and present staff came to pay their respects and honour a popular colleague. A long guard of honour allowed us to publicly honour our very dear friend.

By Anne Grundy, Midwife
Coffs Harbour Hospital