Bottle Sterilising Rack

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Babies’ bottles in sterilising rack, used at the Methodist Babies Home, after 1929
Image: Rodney Start (photographer)
Source: Museum Victoria

This sterilising rack was used at the Methodist Babies’ Home after 1929. It contains six glass bottles, each marked ’8 ounces or 16 tablespoons’. It appears that the bottles were stored upside down in the rack.

The Methodist Babies’ Home in Copelen Street, South Yarra, was opened in 1929. Babies, especially from the inner-city slums, were referred to the home through the Children's Court.  From 1929 until the early 1970s the Home's role was to care for babies awaiting adoption.  From 1974, the direct care of neglected babies was phased out in favour of family, unit-based support services.

According to former nurses who worked at the Babies Home during World War II, tomato sauce bottles were used to feed the babies, as babies' bottles were almost unobtainable.

Babies were placed on their sides in their cots, and the filled bottle with a rubber teat covered with flannel was propped up on a chaff-filled cushion so the baby could reach the milk. The nurse then moved onto the next baby.

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Nurses washing babies at the Methodist Babies’ Home Kerosene lamp Badge