New “sacred space” birth suite at Gold Coast Hospital

Gold Coast University Hospital have unveiled new artwork in one of their birth suites as they aim to make their facilities more culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Around 180 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies are born at the hospital each year. The artwork, by Gold Coast Aboriginal artist Narelle Urquhart shows community coming together to support and celebrate birth and takes in the beauty of the region’s natural surroundings including land, coast, mountains and diverse inland areas. The centrepiece Lillly Pilly tree reflects the good fruit of the human spirit from generation to generation, and the sun and moon represent eternal life.



Quandamooka woman and Gold Coast mum Emily Webb was the first Aboriginal woman to use the suite when she gave birth to her son Ned, last month.

“I thought the wall art was beautiful and it made me happy and I felt really comfortable. It’s great that the hospital has an understanding of Aboriginal culture,” Ms Webb said.

Sacred space birthing suite at Gold Coast University Hospital

PHOTO: © Gold Coast Health

Hazel Brittain from Gold Coast University Hospital said the redesign would help the hospital to better care for all women at “an incredibly beautiful and vulnerable time of their lives.”

“Bringing babies into the world in a safe and culturally respectful environment can have a positive impact as we work to halve the gap in mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under five,” Ms Brittain said.

“We recently had an Aboriginal midwife join our growing Midwifery Group Practice and she’s playing a key role in helping educate our team on how to deliver culturally safe care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women on their pregnancy and birthing journey.”