The strange and fantastic from the RACS Archive.

Physician Leslie Cowlishaw was born in Sydney in 1877 and studied medicine at the University of Sydney. After his third trip overseas in 1906, he started collecting books and built up impressive medical history collection. William Osler, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford referred to him as the 'Bibliophile from the Bush'.

An advocate for medical history, Cowlishaw started lecturing to students at Sydney University in 1931. He illustrated his lectures with glass lantern slides, including those of the strange and fantastic creatures seen below:

Mantichora - a Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth

Barometz - plant that produced a lamb with very sweet flesh as its fruit. The lamb was connected to the fruit by an umbilical cord

Cyclops - a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead

Sciapodes - one-legged men of extraordinary agility and speed who used their enormous foot to protect themselves from the sun

Cowlishaw's collection of glass lantern slides are in the RACS archive. For further information, contact the RACS Archivist: [email protected]