30 May 2024

It's a boy: Vin makes history as first Weipa-born baby in 25 years

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Thorogood family after baby Vin's arrival

Baby Vin Thorogood doesn’t know it yet, but his birth will go down in Weipa’s history as the first in-community birth in 25 years. Photo: Supplied.

Weipa is celebrating the start of a new beginning after the safe arrival of the first planned birth at the township’s hospital in a quarter of a century.

Little Vin Peter Thorogood was born to parents Emily and Alistair Thorogood at 5:44pm on 28 May, and in doing so made history by being the first baby planned to be born in Weipa since the last birthing service ceased in 1999.

Mum Emily said the family had been preparing to travel to Cairns for Vin’s arrival, but asked their midwife if staying in Weipa was an option.

“When we got the approval, it was such a relief,” she said.

“My first son, Kai, was born in Mareeba, so we had to fly out of Weipa at 36 weeks, and that would have been even more difficult this time with our oldest.

“This time, I was able to labour at home for a while, then just drive two minutes to the hospital, and Vin was born half an hour later.”

The new birthing unit was completed in 2022 at Weipa Hospital, with plans to offer birthing once staff recruitment issues had been finalised.

READ ALSO Weipa community gets first look at new birthing suite

However, challenges were experienced in recruiting sufficient doctors with appropriate additional skills in obstetrics and anaesthetics to allow for a safe and sustainable birthing service to be established in Weipa.

Earlier this year, the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service announced it now had the resources to recommence birthing services in the western Cape York township, with the suite being officially opened only four days before Vin and the Thorogood family made history.

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman described the birth as “groundbreaking”.

“Vin is the first baby to be born at the Weipa service in 25 years, and while it might be some years before young Vin knows just how groundbreaking his birth was, this is an incredible moment for our hardworking healthcare staff and families in Weipa and the western Cape region,” she said.

“The birthing unit at Weipa was part of a $9.5 million upgrade of the Weipa [Hospital] and we will continue to deliver these health infrastructure projects to ensure those in our remote areas have access to good quality facilities.”

Seventeen pregnant women due to give birth between 1 June and 31 August this year have been identified as being suitable to do so in Weipa if they wish to.

The new birthing service is expected to support up to 50 births a year initially.

Parents Alistair and Emily Thorogood, with eldest son Kai, welcome baby Vin and celebrate his birth being the first in Weipa for 25 years with staff midwife Louise Mason-Saunders and midwifery unit manager Letitia Funnell. Photo: Supplied.

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