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HMM Newsletter - No. 14, 1998 ISSN 1036-3041

Around Australia

Health and medicine museums and exhibitions


CSL Museum
As many HMM members will know, CSL Limited (formerly the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories) has a marvellous historical collection in the original building on its site at Parkville. In the last issue of the HMM Newsletter, a mention about what is happening with the CSL Museum was incorrect. We are pleased that Catriona Banks, the archivist at CSL, has contacted us to set the record straight. Catriona writes:

The CSL Museum comprises over 800 items, including artefacts and photographs, dating from the 1920s to almost 1990. The collection was catalogued in 1996 by a professional museum curator, at the instigation and expense of CSL.

CSL is currently negotiating to ensure the ongoing care of the collection, as well as allowing the collection to be interpreted and used to its full potential. A statement will be issued at the appropriate time. In the meantime, for any information about the museum contact Ms Jan Reiher, Manager, Information Services at CSL on 03 9389 1233.


Cytoscopes and convicts
An excellent afternoon was recently organised to mark the opening of the AMA Medical History Museum and Archive at AMA House in South Hobart. The occasion, on Saturday 18 April, centred on a Tasmanian Medical History Symposium with speakers presenting papers on such different topics as the evolution of cytoscopes, the story of AMA House, the famous Victor Ratten, and the treatment of insane convicts at Port Arthur. In addition there was a quiz with prizes for correct identification of historical medical equipment and a display on 'General practice in Hobart in the 1950s'. The Museum and Archive was officially opened Dr Jim Cartledge. Congratulations to HMM member Dr Phillip Thomson, whose energy has seen the redevelopment of the AMA collection (see newspaper clipping elsewhere in this newsletter).

Multitudinous medical collections
How many medical history collections do you think there might be in Tasmania? Would you believe at least 10? Rona Hollingsworth, the consultant curator at the AMA Historical Collection, has provided us with a list.

    AMA Medical History Museum and Archive, South Hobart
    Greg Barr Nursing Collection, Ranelagh
    Narryna Folk Museum, Battery Point
    North West Regional Hospital, Burnie
    Nursing Archive of Australia Collection, Quoiba
    Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
    Royal Hobart Hospital Graduate Nurses Museum, Hobart
    Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
    The W.L. Crowther Library, Hobart
    West Coast Pioneers' Memorial, Zeehan

As well, there are collections with a few medical or dental items at:
    Burnie Pioneer Village Museum, Burnie
    Copping Colonial Convict Exhibition, Copping
    Latrobe Courthouse Museum, Latrobe

For the list of contact names and numbers for these collections, send a self-addressed envelope to the editor of this Newsletter. Or for more information contact consultant curator:
Ms Rona Hollingsworth
AMA Historical Collection
2 Gore Street South Hobart TAS 7004
Tel. 03 6223 2047


Reaching an audience
Participants in a recent HMM workshop in Sydney went away inspired to form an action plan for identifying and communicating with their target audience. As well as HMM (NSW) members, custodians of several other small museums attended the Promoting and marketing our museums workshop conducted by Museums Australia (NSW) on 18 April. It was held at the headquarters of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists at Edgecliff, so participants also had the chance to admire the Harry Daly Museum of Anaesthetics, led by honorary curator Dr Richard Bailey and assistant curator Allison Bartlett.

Newcastle stories of hospitals and nursing
Newcastle Regional Museum, in the steel city on NSW's central coast, was the venue for an outing organised by the NSW Society of the History of Medicine in conjunction with Newcastle Nursing and Medicine History Group and HMM (NSW). The meeting on Saturday 23 May included speakers on aspects of nursing and hospital history in Newcastle, and a display of rare medical books and archives from the University of Newcastle. Those attending also had the opportunity to view the galleries in Newcastle Regional Museum, including a display on The nursing women of Royal Newcastle Hospital, and another exhibition with a section on nursing - Shadows of wire: Hunter stories of the Great War 1914-1918.

In all the day was a great success. Sydney members enjoyed meeting Newcastle colleagues and hearing stories of the development of nursing and hospital administration in that city. They were also impressed with the Newcastle Museum which most of them had not previously visited. Some of our members are former nurses and it was fascinating to listen in to their anecdotes prompted by viewing the exhibits in the Nursing women of Royal Newcastle Hospital exhibition.

[clasp.JPG 18K]

There's many a girl deserves a medal who only gets a clasp -
a First World War comic postcard reproduced in
Shire Album 208 'Picture postcards' by C.W.Hill

Wartime medicos
For several weeks each April the Westpac Bank Sub-branch of the RSL mounts an exhibition in the banking chamber of Westpac's Sydney office in George Street. This year's Anzac display covered the work of medicos - the doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers and dentists who have served our armed forces from the Sudan conflict (1885) to the present. The exhibition was opened on 22 April by Major 'Digger' James, who also launched a book about the medicos, Their service Our heritage.

As is often the case with temporary exhibitions around Australia on medical themes, it was HMM members who provided many of the photographs and artefacts for the Westpac RSL's display. HMM members who contributed included SPASM (Society for the Preservation of Artifacts of Surgery and Medicine), the St John Ambulance Archives, and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

[musdisp.JPG 11K]

Customers entering the Westpac Bank in George Street,
Sydney, may have been surprised to find a stretcher-bearer
waiting for them. The manikin was part of the Westpac RSL's
display on wartime medicos.


Mosey up to Muttaburra
Between Longreach and Hughenden in central outback Queensland is the small township of Muttaburra. It was once on an important stock route and a hospital opened there in 1884. This has long since gone and a 'new' hospital built in 1957 is now the Dr Arratta Memorial Museum, named for Joseph Andrew Arratta, the doctor who cared for the people of the town for 35 years. Dr Arratta's memoirs, now published by James Cook University, paint an interesting picture of the difficulties and hardships faced by a practitioner meeting the medical and surgical needs of an isolated community. The museum is set up much as the hospital would have been when Dr Arratta left the district in 1960.

The Dr Arratta Memorial Museum is a member of HMM. This account of the museum is an extract from a short article by John A Hayman, the Director of Pathology at Box Hill Hospital in Victoria, in the Medical Journal of Australia Vol. 167 1/15 December 1997, p. 605.


Fifteen years of safe sex posters from around the world were on display at the National Gallery of Victoria's recent exhibition, Protective posters, in the VicHealth Access Gallery. The exhibition was the idea of senior curator Jane Scott and featured the archival collection of the Victorian AIDS Council along with material from a number of other organisations. According to an article by Melissa Fyfe in The Age (Melbourne, 15 November 1997), Jane Scott was inspired by the level of creativity involved in spreading the safe-sex message. The broad range of posters on display included some extraordinary images.

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Back to HMM Home Page] Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 1 August 1998
Prepared by: Lisa Cianci

Date modified: 10 August 1998
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