Four months ago Margaret River resident Charles McCartney contacted his local Federal Member, Nola Marino, with a unique request. He wanted to know what had happened to the many plaques that adorned the walls of Princess Margaret Hospital since it had closed down.
Mr McCartney, aged 87, has a very special interest in the plaques because one of them had his daughter’s name on it.
Charles and his wife Verna, who passed away four years ago, had four sons and then a little girl they named Christine Jean – the daughter they’d always wanted.
Unfortunately on June 16th 1967 little Christine escaped from the yard in Dianella, ran out onto the road and was hit and killed by a truck. She was two and a half years old at the time.
The Save The Children group, of which Vera was a member rallied around the family, as did many other locals in the area. Collectively they raised enough money to contribute to the building of the playground at PMH and also to get a brass plaque made to commemorate little Christine. It hung on the wall at PMH until the new children’s hospital opened in Perth.
Once Ms Marino heard the story she was keen to help Charles find an answer to his question. After many phone calls between her office and the WA State Health Minister’s office it was discovered that all the plaques were in storage with no time frame of when, or even if they would be put up at the new children’s hospital.
When Charles heard this he decided he would like to have his daughter’s plaque returned to him. Ms Marino requested the plaque be sent to her office, where it was cleaned up and polished.
On October 4th the plaque, weighing between 8-10 kilos, was personally delivered by Nola to a very grateful and emotional Charles at his home. Seven of his grandchildren and great grandchildren were present as well.
Mr McCartney intends mounting the plaque on a wood backing and position it under the verandah at his Margaret River home, where he has lived for 19 years.