Kenneth Fitzpatrick Russell Memorial Lecture

The son of a dentist, he was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and at the University of Melbourne, where he graduated in medicine in 1935. After service in World War II, he decided to devote his talents to anatomy, and was Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy at Melbourne from 1948 to 1968. In 1968 the University of Melbourne conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Letters, the only medical graduate of the university to achieve this distinction. In the next year the university awarded him a Personal Chair in Anatomy and Medical History.

His contributions to scholarship in the history of medicine were outstanding, and he was universally regarded as the doyen of medical historians in Australia. In 1963 he produced his bibliography British Anatomy 1525-1800, a classic of its kind. He edited the ANZ Journal of Surgery from 1949 to 1967. In 1978 he was awarded the rare academic honour of being presented with a Festschrift by the AMA Section of Medical History.

Ken Russell played an instrumental role in the acquisition of the Cowlishaw Collection. This has come to be recognized as the most important collection of rare and historic medical books in Australasia, and its procurement for the College was a major strategic coup. He was also Reader to the Gordon Craig Library and a member of the College's Library Committee, from 1945 to 1987.

Kenneth Fitzpatrick Russell Memorial Lecture conditions

  • The lecture shall be known as The Kenneth Fitzpatrick Russell Memorial Lecture.
  • The lecture shall normally be delivered at the College's headquarters in Melbourne.
  • The lecturer shall be appointed every two or three years as determined by Council (by convention the lecture is now delivered every two years, in association with the Cowlishaw Symposium)
  • The lecturer shall be given at least 12 months' notice, in order to research for the preparation of the lecture.
  • The lecturer is expected to draw upon the resources of the College's collection of rare and historic books in the preparation of the lecture, and to make specific reference to the College's collections of historical books and artefacts during the course of the lecture.
  • The subject of the lecture shall be of anatomical, surgical or historical interest.
  • The lecture shall be open to anyone interested in the history of medicine and shall not be restricted to Fellows of the College.
  • The manuscript of the lecture shall be prepared ready for publication in the ANZ Journal of Surgery, of which journal K.F. Russell was editor for 18 years. Copies of the lecture will be made available for the audience at the end of the presentation.
  • The award shall take the form of a bronze medal, suitably inscribed, which shall be presented to the lecturer at the conclusion of the lecture.
  • Council may allocate sufficient travel and living expenses to facilitate the presentation of the lecture.

Kenneth Fitzpatrick Russell Memorial Lecturers

2017 - Susan Neuhaus - '1783 - Anatomy of a Duel'
2016 - Peter Burke - Matthew Baillie's Morbid Anatomy, its Sequel and the Melbourne 'Connexion'
2014 - Wyn Beasley - A Dram wi' the Monros (The Anatomy of the humane Bones Edinburgh 1732/1776, The Morbid Anatomy of the Gullet, Stomach and Intestines Edinburgh 1830).
2012 - G. Low - Paintings from the Cushing-Whitney Medical Library at Yale University
2010 - P. Sharp - Harmen Boerhaave - "The Dutch Hippocrates"(Aphorismi de cognoscendis et curandis morbis…,Leiden 1722)
2008 - M. Fahrer - The Life and Times of Ambroise Paré (Œuvres complètes d'Ambroise Paré..., Malgaigne 1840-41)
2006 - A.W. Beasley - An Approach to the Natural (Hippocratis Coi medicorum omnium longe principis...,1525)
2004 - S.A. Mellick - Of Books and Libraries
2002 - Professor A.J. Thurston - Dupuytren's Disease or Cooper's Contracture? (Dislocations and Fractures of the Joints, Cooper 1822; Leçons Orales de Clinique Chirurgicale, Dupuytren 1832)
2000 - Professor D.A. Simpson - The English Roots of Medical Education in Australasia (Records of Harvey, Paget 1846)
1998 - Professor A.W. Beasley - A Web of Words: Kipling and his Friends (The Story of a Surgeon, Bland-Sutton 1930)
1996 - Professor J.H. Pearn - Nom et Lumière (The Anatomy of Plants, Grew 1682)
1994 - R. Andrew Cuthbertson - Haemophilia: Historical and Molecular Perspectives
1991 - Professor Harold Attwood Kenneth Russell - Medical Historian, Matthew Baillie's Atlas of Engravings and Samuel Johnson's Lung