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Outback Midwife

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  403 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Call the Midwife meets In the Middle of Nowhere in this heartwarming memoir of an adventurous Aussie midwife's life 'catching babies'.

Outback Midwife is the story of Beth McRae's 40 years as a midwife, from her terrifying first day witnessing a birth as a naïve student nurse to her training as a midwife – the days when the words ‘birth plan' were unheard of and what women
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Random House Australia
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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I had the great pleasure to meet Aussie author Beth McRae at a recent event for the launch of her book Outback Midwife. She was a very interesting speaker and created a long question and answer time with her stories about her life. So I was keen to read the book and I haven’t been disappointed.

Outback Midwife kept me interested from the very first page, where we learn about Beth’s life with her strict parents in rural Victoria and the closeness she shared with her sister Faye. As Beth became a t
4.5 stars

I loved Outback Midwife. As a former nurse I'm drawn to nursing and midwifery stories, and not only is Beth's memoir an entertaining read with humorous and heartbreaking anecdotes but with 40 years experience as a midwife, it's like getting the history of midwifery in Australia without the dry history lesson.

Beth's nursing training, the slow changes to prenatal care, birth and neonatal practices over the years made me both giggle and cringe in acknowledgement. I also identified with th
Amy Rose
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it

This was a really enjoyable read about being midwife in Australia. I would have liked to have read more about her time spent in Maningrida and the people who live there.
Julie Steele
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and what a great experience
Karen O'Brien-Hall
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jennifer Worth was a British nurse whose trilogy of memoirs, based on her years as a midwife in the poverty-stricken areas of East London in the 1950’s and 1960’s, became the highly acclaimed BBC series Call the Midwife.

Beth McRae is an Australian nurse whose memoir Outback Midwife is based on her 40 years as a midwife, from her first delivery through to the present. Hope springs eternal that Beth’s story will be picked up by television and receive similar acclaim in the Australia and the overse
Sian Williams
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found this purely by chance when browsing on the website, and knowing comparatively little about Australia, I decided to give it a go. I am so very glad that I did, as after a bit of a slow start, I found listening to this book to be a thoroughly enjoyable and quite compelling experience.

Beth McRae's story begins with her life as a country girl in Victoria, then moving to train as a nurse and a midwife, falling in love along the way with an Army man to whom her parents did not wa
Sandra The Old Woman in a Van
My challenge was to read a book related to a TV show I like. Well, Call the Midwife is one of the best TV series ever so - Outback Midwife it was. I enjoyed the second half of the book far more than the first half. The beginning is all set up for the best part of the book, but I have to say I got a bit impatient reading at length about the author’s training, the outdated obstetric practices of the 70’s, and longed for the “Outback” portion of the story to begin. This impatience set aside I loved ...more
Amy Perera
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book 30 of 2018 was Outback Midwife by Beth McRae ✨ I really enjoyed reading this memoir, Beth has been a midwife for forty years. The book starts at her childhood and how she made her dream of becoming a nurse/midwife come true. Her family life with her husband and young daughters in country Victoria to then spending time working around parts of Australia. She then spent 5 years working in a remote Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land. A fascinating read that I highly recommend. I raced through ...more
Joy Norman
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beth has had a very interesting life and the ability to pass on her passion of midwifery training other midwives and was available to go where she was needed. Her husband was an amazing support and gave up much for her. She was able to use her own experience along with her vast experience onto others. I'd love to meet this lady and what a person to mentor you ! Written with much love and sensitivity ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written and as I listened to the audio version, I’ve also got to say that Caroline Lee was excellent.
I really enjoyed this book the whole way through and Beth’s method of story telling is uplifting but grounded. So motivated was I that as soon as I finished Outback Midwife, I found a charity working with aboriginal girls and young women and sent a donation.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
If you're considering midwifery as a career, or if you're thinking of going to work in the Australian outback, then I think you'll really enjoy this book. But then, it's also a story of how the author tries to balance work and family. Whatever your reason to pick up the book, I think it's a great read. ...more
Carole Cluff
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book you laugh, cry and smile all the wU through it
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. The author clearly has a passion for the job and a desire to make a difference.
Maddy Smith
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
love love love.

really great narrative and story telling.
Jessica Rankin
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listened to the audio through borrowbox and loved it. Will be buying the paperback/ebook eventually as would read again.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, 2019-world
Too much "Biography of my life" and not enough outback midwife. But all in all a good read. ...more
Lauren Osborne
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story of what its like to live and work in the outback, and the life experiences that prepared her for this adventure.
I listened to the audiobook.
Beth Lusk
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this read. As a nurse I enjoyed reading about her early days in training too. Beautiful and inspiring
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book... the first half was engaging and interesting, as she grew and learned her trade, but once she made it to the outback, it wasn't as fun of a read. It began to feel more like a humanitarian effort/political statement or a platform to talk about the hardships of others. It lacked the personal storyline and focused more on others, in my opinion. Still and interesting and easy read. ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww-2015
Knowing several nurses (some who are midwives) I am fairly familiar with the amazing job that they undertake on a daily basis. This can be difficult enough in a well-equipped city hospital, but it is hard to fathom in the middle of the outback with sometimes limited resources and extreme isolation. Having spent much of her forty year nursing career in Melbourne and regional hsopitals in Victoria, Beth McRae had long harboured a yearning to work in a truly outback seting. Deciding to give it a go ...more
Crystal Lindsey
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is outstanding, and if you are or have been a nurse, then you will enjoy and also laugh in remembrance at certain events.
Many people have no idea of how much a nurse is the backbone of a hospital and especially in the Maternity wards. These women often deliver babies on their own without a doctor present and can be absolutely trusted to do so.
In this story Beth is completely candid. She talks about her early occurrences and of feeling inadequate and then feeling so pleased when all wor
Marie-elise Allen
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was interesting. What captured me most, apart from all the births Beth was blessed with being part of, was the respect and integrity in her quest to understandand get to know about the first people of Australia.
Their stories, their ceremonies, their connection to the land and their generosity as a people was delightful to read about. Her openness and willingness to find ways to communicate, to stuff up and own it, then to reach out again was heartfelt. What an experience! For Beth, as
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
What an amazing and rewarding career you have had Beth. Thanks for sharing your journey and the difference you have made and enriched into so many women and children's lives.

I know how strongly my two birth experiences feature in my mind and the miracle our body allows and works to birth our babies. I personally am so proud and in awe of my births and thank the midwives whom assisted me at both. My second birth I chose a student midwife to assist me, to help with her studies and also be my voic
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, biographical
This book hooked me in from the beginning. It had me crying early into the story and it taught me some interesting things about Aboriginal culture that I didn't know. The book follows an interesting although at times painful story of Beth McRae and her journeys of becoming a midwife and then taking her skills to the remote areas of the Australian Outback. There was a nice balance of tales relating to midwifery and relationships she forged and her own experiences of the situations she was in. ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Being a mother of six children gives me a great respect for the midwives who cared for me and helped me through some of the most difficult and wonderful moments of my life. This book is such an enjoyable read for all mums, dads and midwives. It has also given me a new respect for my midwife mother-in-law who worked in isolated indigenous areas of Australia for years.
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great read, facinating story. I really enjoyed this book and once again find myself wishing I had possibly done midwifery when younger. (If only I hadn't let myself be put off)
People of a nursing background will enjoy this book. The author is not 'preachy' about the issues faced by the indigenous people of outback Australia but does mention them and the fact that something needs to be done.
Kelly Turner
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the book. It was great to read a book based on Beth's career and life. I've always wanted to be a midwife and the book gave a true account of what the job involves including a look into remote communities in Australia. I've recommended my mum to read the book!
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook from start to finish.
It was so interesting hearing about nursing practices from days gone by, as well as the challenges of remote midwifery.

The narrator of the audiobook - Caroline Lee- was an absolute pleasure to listen to.
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy and engaging read

I wish more people would document their lives - this story of a woman who trained to be a nurse then specialised in midwifery is fascinating. Loved every word.
Julie Eddie
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a nice endearing read. Really enjoyed Beth's journey ...more
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Beth McRae began her training as a midwife at Preston and Northcote Community Hospital in Victoria, in the days when birth plans were unheard of, and went on ‘catch babies' all over Australia.

After more than 30 years on the job, in her 50s there was one more frontier she was determined to conquer, the outback, where she believed her experience was needed more than anywhere else. So Beth upped sti

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