Mary Kirk leaves the Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre, mostly likely in November, after more than two decades of service, passionate that it continues to prioritise the wellbeing of mothers, babies and families.
"What I like about this place is that it focuses on what it is families need," she said.
"That is something that has not only inspired me, but kept me here."
Both the executive director and director of nursing and midwifery at the QEII in Curtin since 1997, Ms Kirk has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
The award recognises her "significant service to midwifery and nursing, and to professional standards". The no-nonsense Ms Kirk said it was only at the last minute she decided to accept the honour, as much for others as herself.
"I feel humbled and proud and realise you don't do any of this in isolation," she said.
"The bottom line is you're doing this because you've been enabled. And I've had the luxury of working for the most amazing organisation for the last 20 years, the Canberra Mothercraft Society."
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QEII, a salve and salvation for mothers and their babies as a live-in support centre, has been run by the Canberra Mothercraft Society for 56 years but that tenure ends on June 30. An alternative provider will be put in place by the ACT Government. Ms Kirk, 62,intends to leave QEII, but not retire, after the society's AGM in November.
She hopes to move into consultancy, continuing to agitate for enough funding and support structures so that the same midwife can be with a woman throughout the pregnancy and birth. She also wants pregnancy and birth to not be treated as a medical issue, the level of medical intervention be reconsidered and for women to get at least six weeks' post-birth rest with their baby.
Ms Kirk says her beliefs were formed when she was nursing on the Cocos Islands as a 25-year-old.
"It's where I grew to love midwifery with a passion," she said. "It was an environment where I could use all of my skills as a midwife and work with a woman from beginning to end. It was true continuity of care."
Ms Kirk, who grew up in Cabramatta in the western suburbs of Sydney, did her nursing at the Woden Valley Hospital and her midwifery in Manly. Her family moved to Canberra in her final year of primary school and she attended the Catholic Girls High in Braddon.
She hoped the new operator of QEII continued to put the needs of women front and centre because a woman's strength was her family's strength.
"They walk in our door and think they've failed. They haven't failed. They've done a sterling job," Ms Kirk said. "If they feel like that, then we've failed them by not supporting them enough."