Barbara Auld – an early pioneer in arts in health

As the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation celebrated 10 years of delivering our vibrant Arts in Health program, it is fitting to remember Barbara Auld (1921-2011) who was an early pioneer in using creative expression to support young Hospital patients.

Barbara is believed to have been the first handicraft instructor at the Hospital, teaching arts and crafts during the mid-1940s at both the Adelaide Children’s Hospital and the Northfield Military Hospital.

Barbara Auld

Barbara Auld (1921-2011) was an early pioneer in using creative expression to support young Hospital patients.

She went on to achieve a Diploma in Social Science at the University of Adelaide and took up employment as a social worker in mental health. She was eventually appointed as Chief Social Worker – Mental Health Services in 1969 and witnessed some major advances in the field during her tenure.

Barbara remained a loyal donor to the WCH Foundation throughout her lifetime, making one or two donations each year for more than 20 years. Given her long-standing connection, she decided to leave a gift in her Will of $50,000 to continue her support of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. She said:

“I was the first handicraft instructor in the schoolroom at the then Adelaide Children’s Hospital. I found the experience rewarding and I also realised the needs of the setting and empathised with the cause.”

Today, Barbara’s special connection to the Hospital lives on.  Thanks to the support of donors and gifts in Wills from people like Barbara, our Arts in Health program continues to use art, play and music to provide creative activities for young patients – helping to alleviate anxiety and distract them from the stresses of being in Hospital.


To find out more about how you can support South Australia’s only specialist children’s Hospital with a gift in your Will, contact us for a confidential discussion.

For more information about leaving a bequest to the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation, click here or contact Fern Cargill, Bequests and Research Manager, on (08) 8464 7900 for a confidential discussion.

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