A celebration of women

Western Health chair Bronwyn Pike, Ron Kirner and Jill Hennessy.

By Tate Papworth

A colourful four-metre high statue has been unveiled at the soon to be opened Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The eye-catching statue “Joy”, which celebrates Ms Kirner and the contribution of all Victorian women, will be the centrepiece of the hospital’s foyer.

The bright blue statue is inspired by Ms Kirner’s life and achievements.

Finely crafted pictures and quotes pay homage to Ms Kirner’s tireless passion for championing women and children, while the statue’s unique shape represents strength, health, fertility and creation.

The rare and vulnerable plants that adorn the artwork pay tribute to Ms Kirner’s environmental passions, including her work with Landcare and her driving force behind the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy unveiled the statue and said it was a great way to pay homage to Victoria’s first female premier.

“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 special way.

“This flagship new hospital will offer world-class paediatric and maternity services – just some of the many things Joan Kirner cared deeply about.”

Joy isn’t the only piece of art featured in the hospital’s foyer. Three tapestries will hang from the ceiling next to the statue, each celebrating the rich contribution of women to Melbourne’s west.

The statue was funded by the state government and designed by Renata Slusarski from Big Fish Footscray. The $200 million hospital is almost complete, with handover of the keys scheduled for March 2019.