21. Annie Jane “Nurse Sheedy” Clune (1870-1945), midwife
Annie Clune was known for much of her life as Annie “Nurse” Sheedy. Annie came to Fremantle with her baker husband and five sons from Cessnock, New South Wales. They lived near Wray Avenue.
When her husband, James Sheedy, died at the age of 40 in 1908, Nurse Sheedy started a small maternity hospital at her home. In 1920 she moved up to Ocean View, a large, luxurious house in Solomon Street built by Elias Solomon, which still stands to this day. It had been used as a military hospital since 1917 which must have had a particular poignancy for Nurse Sheedy, as two of her sons were killed in World War I.
The hospital advertised “homely accommodation for ladies”, providing “fresh milk daily from own cows”. Some patients, particularly Italians and Yugoslavs, would trade fresh fish or vegetables in return for their accommodation.
Nurse Sheedy remarried and officially became Annie Clune, but remained known as Nurse Sheedy. One of her sons Arthur (“Barney”) Sheedy became a celebrated footballer with East Fremantle. “Barney” Sheedy married Hilda Bee, whose mother worked at the hospital as a cook. Nurse Sheedy’s grandson, Jack Sheedy, was an even more famous footballer. Jack’s estimate of his grandmother’s significance: “She must have delivered half of the people of Fremantle”.