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Do you have a ‘murder-house memory’? | Nelson Provincial Museum

Image: Miss Boyd, 28 May 1946. Nelson Provincial Museum, Geoffrey C Wood Collection: 200618 [cropped]

HISTORY 1921: New Zealand marked another world first!

On 8 March 1921 it was reported that 34 women had been selected to train as dental nurses as part of a new initiative of state-funded School Dental Services established to provide free dental care to primary school children – a world first.

Opinion about the all-women dental nurse program was initially divided. Some agreed that women had all the qualities needed, while many male dentists were concerned women would not have the strength to undertake dentistry and would inevitably lower standards. These fears were countered by assuring dentists that nurses would be the responsibility of a public health dentist.

The first wave of dental nurses graduated in mid-1923 and the first school dental clinic opened in the Hawkes Bay in July 1923. The School Dental Service, or ‘murder-house’ as it came to known by school children, was established.

Do you have a ‘murder-house memory’?

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