four people in a paediatric treatment room that has been decorated with a large underwater scene mural

Artist Joe Neathway Brown, ED Paediatric Staff Specialist Dr Sarah O’Rourke, Pink Ladies President Helen Mears and Project Manager Mark Tyler in the procedure room that has been transformed into a magical, underwater world.

Pink Ladies deliver colourful mural for Paediatric ED

Jan 11, 2022
This article was published 2 years ago.

Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies has delivered one of its biggest and brightest donations to Coffs Harbour Health Campus – a donation that will change the hospital experience for youngsters in the Emergency Department.

Local artist Joe Neathway Brown has created several murals for the department’s four paediatric bays and procedure room; transforming the clinical white spaces into an underwater world filled with magical creatures and some familiar landmarks.

The epic work of art was funded by the Pink Ladies through a $24,000 donation, but ED Staff Specialist Dr Sarah O’Rourke said the artist’s creation was priceless.

“This is a magical underwater world for kids to escape to during what might be the scariest moments of their life,” Dr O’Rourke said.

“What Joe and the Pink Ladies have created is a nice, welcoming environment. All the creatures look friendly… there is something for everyone in the artwork – from babies to teens.

“We are so grateful to have this space. It really is something very special.”

Artist Joe Neathway Brown is no stranger to EDs. He created the much-loved children’s mural for the paediatric emergency room at Macksville Hospital in 2020 and was keen to use his extraordinary talents again, to help children admitted to ED at Coffs.

“I was given a brief that it was to be an underwater theme and representative of Coffs. And the ideas just flowed from there,” Mr Brown said.

“I wanted it to be humorous; to be funny… to be a distraction.”

Pink Ladies President Helen Mears, who just last week was named NSW’s Senior Volunteer of the Year, said she was delighted the Pink Ladies made the mural a reality.

“We were asked to help and I have to say it was an easy decision to make,” Mrs Mears said.

“It is something so special for the kids and now that it is on the walls, and the ceiling, I can’t help but be amazed.”

The Emergency Department is part of the new Clinical Services Building, which officially opened last week.

Project Manager Mark Tyler said every child who had visited ED had fallen in love with the artwork and the characters.

“Every time you look at the murals, you find something new. It is an amazing piece of art that will help calm and relax children at a time when they need it most.”

The four paediatric bays transformed by Joe Neathway Brown now have new names – Submarine, Turtle, Butterfly and Dolphin bays, while the procedure room features a massive humpback whale and his colourful friends, as well as some well-known landmarks, including the Big Banana, the Clog Barn and Windmill and an underwater skate bowl.

two people standing next to glass wall featuring mural

Artist Joe Neathway Brown and Pink Ladies President Helen Mears in the Emergency Department’s waiting area, where children get their first glimpse of the underwater adventure world waiting beyond the glass panels.

three people sitting on a bed in paediatric treatment room

ED Paediatric Staff Specialist Dr Sarah O’Rourke (front) is delighted with the finished murals, made possible by artist Joe Neathway Brown and Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies, represented by President Helen Mears.

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