MDHS collections at the University of Melbourne Archives


The School of Medicine was founded in 1862 with George Halford appointed first Professor of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology. Classes commenced in 1863 and the Faculty of Medicine was formally constituted in 1876.

The University of Melbourne Archive (UMA) holds a significant collection of documents relating to both the School and its staff and more broadly to the practice of medicine in Victoria. For example, the UMA holds papers of Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Ernest Edward 'Weary' Dunlop, the Nuffield Foundation, the Medical Students' Society, Roy Douglas Wright and a number of commercial distributors of medical supplies, plus much more.

Explore the UMA's medical collection guides


From 1901, nurses organised to control and advance their profession by addressing the issues of registration, nursing education, the relationship between medicine and nursing, authority structures within nursing and appropriate salaries and conditions. Since 1974 the UMA has collected the records of organisations and individuals who were involved with these developments, and which document their struggle and development. Beyond the immediate history of nursing, these records can be enlightening on such social issues as changes in attitudes to health care, or gender and work throughout the twentieth century. View the nursing records held by the UMA.


In 1884 a group of dentists formed the Odontological Society of Victoria with the aims of the regulation and education of dentists in the state of Victoria. Mr John Illife (1847–1914), a member and later President of the Odontological Society of Victoria, was the driving force in negotiations for the regulation of dentistry in Victoria and the establishment of a hospital and college in Melbourne. Thanks largely to his efforts, the Melbourne Dental Hospital opened its doors in 1890 and was followed in 1897 by the Australian College of Dentistry devoted solely to the education of dentists. The School of Dental Science was accorded faculty status under foundation professor Frank Clare Wilkinson in 1904 and the College was affiliated with the University of Melbourne.

Records held by the UMA include those relating to the Odontological Society of Victoria, Australian College of Dentistry and the Dental Hospital Auxiliary. Also held are papers of dental educators and academics and private practitioners.  Search the UMA catalogue for more details on the dental collections.