SMHC ARCHIVES Inc.
Selkirk Mental Health Centre
Keeping Our History Alive!
Mary Alberta Hornibrooke was the last person to hold the unique position of Matron at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre. Miss Mary Alberta Hornibrook, (RN graduate of the Montreal General Hospital), arrived at the hospital in 1946 and retired twenty-one years later in December 1967 from the position of Associate Director of Rehabilitation. She arrived at was then called the Selkirk Mental Hospital which had over 1200 patients. Miss Hornibrooke functioned as the head of the female nursing services as well as that of the nurse training school. During her time at the hospital she not only witnessed the advent of Electric Shock Therapy which was introduced in the early 1940s, but also witnessed the hospital performing leucotomies in the Infirmary Building operating suite in the 1950s. In the 1940s male attendants, with Miss Hornibrooke’s instigation, were permitted to join the nursing lectures with the female nursing staff. By the end of the 1950s, both groups of staff graduated together as psychiatric nurses. Although short in stature and kind in disposition she was a mighty atom who played a important role in the development of psychiatric nursing in Manitoba. Mary Alberta Hornibrooke whom prior to her death in April 1982, returned to the Centre for special events where she always received a warm welcome.
Mary Alberta Hornibrook, RN