Vale Annette Innes, 1951–2021


Friends and colleagues of Annette Innes, APAM, MACP, will be saddened to hear of her death on 14 August following a courageous and dignified battle with breast cancer.

Annette was a force of nature, with incredible energy, generosity and commitment to her family, her profession, her friends and her community.

She lived her life with courage and enthusiasm, enjoying extensive travelling, bushwalking, cooking, good food and wine, her community and her church.

As a committed Christian, she lived her faith, demonstrating generosity, kindness and love.

She was always willing to offer food, friendship and care to those who needed it.

Her personal qualities were ideally suited to her chosen profession, where over a career of 47 years she made a real impact on many lives.

Her patients remember her dedication and expertise and the profession acknowledges and applauds her huge contribution to the promotion of the successful management of continence in both women’s and men’s pelvic health areas.

She was also committed to the APA, serving as South Australian Branch president in 1999–2000 and then on the National Advisory Council.

Annette (née Potter) graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1970 and initially worked at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide in 1971–72.

With two close friends and colleagues, she travelled to Canada, where she worked in Prince George, British Columbia.

Here she treated conditions quite different from those seen as a new graduate—treating frostbite and pulp mill and ski accidents had not been taught at the University of Adelaide!

However, she was in demand as she had been a student of Geoff Maitland’s.

Her knowledge of his approach led her to share her skills, offering in-service sessions and short courses for the local physiotherapists in the Maitland methods.

Following her overseas adventure, she met and married David Innes, who at that time was in the Royal Australian Air Force.

They moved around with Dave’s appointments, living in Williamstown (Victoria), Richmond (NSW), Canberra and Singapore.

Annette and Dave had two children, Jeff and Jennifer, sparking Annette’s interest in antenatal care and childbirth education.

Upon returning to Adelaide, the family settled in the Adelaide Hills, where in the late 1980s Annette set up a private practice in the historic town of Hahndorf.

Alongside her musculoskeletal physiotherapy skills, Annette became increasingly excited about helping young mums prepare for and recover from childbirth.

Annette Innes, 1951–2021. Photo courtesy The Courier, Mt Barker. 

With a colleague, she completed a TAFE Fitness Instructor Course with an Aquarobics elective in order to enhance her skills for running pregnancy and postnatal land and water exercise classes, which they both did for the next 30 years.

The Adelaide Hills community where Annette worked and lived is a very close-knit one and Annette would constantly bump into one of ‘her mums’ in the area.

In later years, her previous ‘bubs’ often returned—now as mums.

She must have touched the lives of thousands of women over those years, educating, healing and supporting them through pregnancy, birth and new motherhood.

Her kindness and concern reached beyond professional boundaries and many of the people she cared for became close personal friends.

Annette became increasingly passionate about helping both men and women with incontinence issues.

She extended her expertise in this area, being one of the first to become an APA titled Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist in 2011, with involvement in the national Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health group of the APA as well as the Continence Foundation of Australia.

In Annette’s generous style, she gave precious time and expertise as she served in leadership roles in these groups.

Her leadership qualities had also been valued as she led the South Australian Branch of the APA in the early 2000s.

Once again, Annette’s passion for her chosen career was evident as she willingly took on this role and played a pivotal part in the conference planning committee for the APA conference in Adelaide in 2003.

Annette was a great advocate for the profession wherever she went, readily promoting the value of physiotherapy, particularly in her special interest area.

Annette sold her physiotherapy practice three years ago but did not relinquish her dedication to her profession until forced to do so by ill health.

The profession will remember Annette as committed, enthusiastic, generous and highly skilled.

Her friends, including many from her graduating class of 1970, will miss her vitality, warmth, energy and love.

>> APA Honoured Member Dianne Wilson, MACP

Main image: Annette with colleagues from the graduating year of 1970.

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