Archives

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Find a surgeon

The Find a Surgeon directory is a listing of active Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons who meet the requirements of the College's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program and have opted to be on the list. This list excludes retired or inactive Fellows.

 

College Facade 1960SAlthough material had been collected by various interested parties since the College's inception, the Archives were established in the 1960s with the appointment of Julian Ormond (Orm) Smith as the first Honorary Archivist. The Archives are the corporate memory of RACS from its origins in 1927 to the present day. They include a diverse collection of material documenting the history of RACS and the development of surgical practice. Records come from a variety of sources and include documents such as personal papers, photographs and associated memorabilia.

The main repository for the Archive is at the RACS Headquarters in Melbourne.

Opening Hours

Monday - Thursday 8.30am-4.30pm

Reference and Research Services

Upon request, RACS is able to provide reference and research services to Fellows, trainees and members of the public. Please include relevant information about your enquiry. Fellows of RACS are welcome to visit the Archives during opening hours. Others can visit the Archives by appointment. Applications to view records less than 30 years old will be assessed on a case to case basis.

Archives staff can conduct biographical research about deceased Fellows of RACS but in accordance with privacy legislation, information about extant Fellows will not be provided without permission. Biographical information can also be viewed via in memoriam on the website.

Research and Publications

Beasley, AW The Mantle of Surgery,2002
Milford, E & Watters, D Anzac Surgeons of Gallipoli, 2015
Surgical News: articles relating to the Archive are published in Surgical News four times a year

Useful Links

Australian Pioneer Medical Index: http://medicalpioneers.com/
Trove: http://trove.nla.gov.au/
Queen Mary's Hospital Sidcup Archive: http://www.gilliesarchives.org.uk/


Significant Collections

Sidcup Collection

Cases of facial and jaw injuries were common during World War I and in 1917 a specialist hospital was established in the grounds of the Frognal Estate at Sidcup in Kent. Between 1917 and 1921 around 8000 soldiers from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada were treated at the hospital. Each of these countries offered their own surgical team and the Australian section was run by Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Newland, a future President of the College. Henry Pickerill who became a Fellow in 1930, headed the New Zealand section.

The collection contains watercolour illustrations by Daryl Lindsay, patient records including photographs and facial casts (in College Museum)

Lindsay watercolours

Heidelberg Collection

Complementing the Sidcup Collection is material from Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon, Sir Benjamin Rank. Dating from the 1930s, the collection includes albums and documentary material from the Heidelberg Military Hospital. After World War 2 Sir Benjamin Rank worked mostly at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and he was President of the College from 1966 to 1968.

Case Books of WH Brown of Colac

William H Brown was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (MRCS). In the nineteenth century this was a Conjoint Diploma paired with a Licentiate from the Royal College of Physicians (LRCP). He came to Colac in the early 1890s and his three bound casebooks date from 1899-1920. They contain some loose papers - including letters, pathology reports and photographs and provide evidence of the diverse skills of the country surgeon in the early twentieth century.

Hydatid Registry

In 1926 one of the College founders, Sir Louis Barnett visited the man they called the 'doyen of hydatid parasitologists', Félix Dévé. Soon after this encounter, Barnett aided by New Zealand and Australian surgeons, set up the Hydatid registry. The Registry covers the period 1927-1950 and documents 2058 cases of hydatids in Australia and New Zealand.

Cowlishaw collection of Glass lantern slides

Leslie Cowlishaw saw the history of medicine as part of a broader history within the social and economic underpinnings of a particular time period. Although the collection focuses on the influence and achievements of the great figures of medical history, hospitals, universities and cities vie with ancient civilisations such as Sumeria, Assyria and Crete. There are also slides reflecting indigenous cultures, particularly those of America and Australia and examples of Arab, Jewish and Icelandic medicine and culture. Philosophers, diarists, inventors, collectors and artists all form part of Cowlishaw's world.

Archibald Watson's surgical notebooks

Fluent in six languages and a man who routinely flouted convention, Archibald Watson was colourful and controversial character. He was Professor of Anatomy at Adelaide University for 34 years and his surgical notebooks date from 1882-1926. Apart from providing valuable insights into the development of surgical practice, they also catalogue the direction of surgery in the early twentieth century.


Contact

RACS Archivist
Telephone: 61 3 9249 1270
Facsimile: 61 3 9249 1219
Email: college.archives@surgeons.org