Students at the University of Sydney

Students in the early years

This webpage provides brief information about the beginnings / establishment of the Faculty of Medicine, and photos of its early students and graduates.

Find out more about early women Medicine students here.

On this webpage:


Click on images for enlargement.


FACULTY OF MEDICINE 1883 (now Sydney Medical School)

Milestones

1856:  The Faculty of Medicine formally came into being when the Senate appointed a Board of Examiners for the purpose of conducting examinations to award the degrees of Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine.  
1874:  By then there had been 11 successful candidates for the MB examination.
1883: The Medical School commenced teaching in March.
  Professor Thomas Anderson Stuart was appointed as the first Professor of Medicine.
  The first six students enrolled in Medicine II (there was no Medicine I - first year was common to all faculties): Allaster Cox, William Bennett, Ernest Greville,  Enest Holle, Duncan Mackay and David Rutledge.
  Students were taught by the Dean, Professor Anderson Stuart, in a tiny cottage near the Footbridge entrance from Parramatta Road. Rutledge was the only one who graduated (in 1888), but only after repeating his final (5th) year.
1885: Dagmar Berne was the first woman to enrol in Medicine in Australia.
1888: The first Bachelor of Medicine graduates were David Rutledge from the first cohort, and Peter Bancroft, Alfred Perkins, William Armstrong, Arthur Henry and Leslie Davidson from the second cohort.
1889: The Medical Building was completed externally by April and was able to be occupied.
1893: Iza Coghlan and Grace Robinson (later Boelke) were the first female medical graduates at the University.
  Confidence in the quality of the medical program encouraged increased enrolments, so that the student body numbered close to 100.
1895: Dr Cyril Corlette and Dr Grafton Smith were the first two Doctor of Medicine graduates.
1902: By the time of the University’s Jubilee, the number of students had nearly doubled.
1992: The Medical School took the major decision to move to a four-year, graduate-entry curriculum with a completely new admissions process and a new curriculum based largely on problem based and self directed learning.
1997: The first students were admitted to the new graduate-entry Medical Program
2012: Now referred to as Sydney Medical School, there were 2.028 women and 1,573 men enrolled in the Faculty as at 31 March.

Gallery

In the 1880s
1883

The Medical School commenced teaching in March 1883 with six students - male - in a four-roomed cottage built between the Great Hall of the University and Parramatta Road. It had been hastily constructed for the purpose on the site of what is now the Old Geology Building, photo , G3_224_2382, University of Sydney Archives.

c1888

A different view of the original Medical School c1888, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

The Lecture Room in the original Medical School

The Lecture Room in the original Medical School, photo, Sydney Medical School Online Museum.

1886

Early Medical staff in 1886, from left: Alexander MacCormack (Demonstrator in Physiology), James Graham (Demonstrator in Anatomy), Professor Anderson Stuart (Professor of Anatomy & Physiology and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine) and James Wilson (Demonstrator &, in 1890, Challis Professor of Anatomy), photo G3_224_2658, University Archives.

1886

Medical students in 1886, photo G3_224_0008, University of Sydney Archives.

1887

3rd year Medical students in 1887, with Dagmar Berne in the centre, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

1888

Fifth year Medical students in 1888, photo G3_224_0520, University of Sydney Archives.

c1888

Building the new Medical School c 1888, photo 842_11, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1890s
1893

Iza Coghlan was one of the first two women Medical graduates, in 1893, photo courtesy of State Records NSW, Digital ID: 9873_a025_a025000047.

1893

Grace Robinson (later Boelke) was one of the first two women Medical graduates, in 1893, photo courtesy of State Records NSW, Digital ID: 9873_a025_a025000049.

Dr Cyril Ernest Corlette  Dr Grafton Elliott Smith 

Dr Cyril Corlette, one of the first two Doctor of Medicine graduates, in 1895
photo, 'Australian Town and
Country Journal', 4 May 1895
,
National Library of Australia.

Dr Grafton Elliott Smith, one of the first two Doctor of Medicine graduates, in 1895,
photo, 'Australian Town and
Country Journal', 4 May 1895
,
National Library of Australia.


1899

Medical students in the second Commem procession on 22 April 1899, photo 842_07, from C R B Blackburn's personal archives, University of Sydney Archives

In the early 1900s
1900

A group of Medical students or graduates outside the Anderson Stuart Building in 1900, photo G3_224_0740, University of Sydney Archives.

1900

View of the new Medical Building (now Anderson Stuart), which opened in 1889, in 1900, photo G3_224_MF374_0158, University of Sydney Archives

1900

The Physiology practical class room in the Medical Building in 1900, photo G3_224_MF374_0239, University of Sydney Archives.

1903

The first Dinner of the Medical Graduates in 1903. Click on the image to see the menu card for the dinner held on 19 September 1903, photo M Henry-Myers from Mrs M E Arundel, 'Centenary of the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine'.

1905

Group of Fifth Year Medicine students in 1905, photo G3_224_0796, University of Sydney Archives.

Fifth Year Medicine, 1909

Fifth Year Medicine, 1909, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1910s
1919

'Something must be done to popularise First year Medicine. Free cigarettes and ice cream might bring in a few more students', from Hermes, December 1919, University of Sydney Archives.

Medical Prosectors in 1919

Medical Prosectors, originally 4th or 5th year medical students, were appointed to provide high quality specimens for the Museum of Human and Morbid Anatomy (now the J T Wilson Museum of Anatomy, located in Room W401 in the Anderson Stuart Building) and to act as Demonstrators. Medical Prosectors in 1919, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

1919
 'At 9am I come into a room,
In which (I think) the lecture starts too soon.
For all around the languid students swoon,
Breathing like those that have a weary dream.
Grim-faced, and jawing, in a doleful croon,
The prof. spouts drivel in a ceaseless stream.
And so the minutes creep,
And down in front the short-haired women weep,
And from the hardwood desk, the Med. stude hangs in sleep.'
A W D

(with apologies to the shade of Tennyson)

From 'Hermes', December 1919, University of Sydney Archives


In the 1920s
1925

The graduating class of 1925, with Marjorie Clare Dalgano (front right), photo, University of Sydney Archives.

1927-28 Senior Yearbook

The 1927-28 Medical School's Senior Yearbook, photo, Sydney University Medical School Online Museum - Click on the image to view the full Year Book.

1927

A classroom in the Medical School in 1927, photo P183_1_0290 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

Second year medical students and Lecturer, photo P183_1_0287 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

A Pathology class in the Medical School in 1927, photo P183_1_0067 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

The main Anatomy Theatre in the Medical School in 1927, photo P183_1_0289 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

An Anatomy class in the Wilson Museum in 1927, photo P183_1_0280 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives. From the 1890s Professor James Thomas Wilson began a massive accumulation of specimens for the Museum of Human and Morbid Anatomy, as it was originally named.

1927

Anatomy class 1927, photo P183_1_0285 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

The Vesalian Theatre of Anatomy, Medical School, with Dr Wilkinson, photo P183_1_0282 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

Massage and Medical students in the Medical School in 1927, photo P183_1_0288 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

Dr Nolan and students in an osteology class, photo P183_1_0273 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1928

During the annual campaign in Sydney for the Hospital Saturday Fund on 3 May 1928, Medical students caused fun by "operating" on all and sundry in Bathurst Street, photo, The Sydney Mail, 9 May 1928, Google News Archive.

1928

Another view of the Medical students on 3 May 1928, photo, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 1928, National Library of Australia.

In the 1930s
Students viewing the heart of Phar Lap on exhibition at the Medical School in 1932

Students viewing the heart of Phar Lap on exhibition at the Medical School in 1932, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 1932, National Library of Australia.

In the 1940s
Third year Medicine, 1945

Third year Medicine, 1945, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1950s
A student retreat on the Hawkesbury River following the end of year Medical exams in 1952

A student retreat on the Hawkesbury River following the end of year Medical exams in 1952, photo, University Gazette, October 2003.

1953

Four doctors nursing their children after receiving their medical degrees on 16 June 1953 - from left, Dr Willoughby Flower, Dr W Sommerhayes, Dr J Allen and Dr L Weinrauch, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 June 1953, National Library of Australia.

1957

The Class of 1957, photo, 2012 'Radius'.

In the 1960s
A prac class in 1960

A prac class in 1960, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1980s
A Master of Public Health class in 1982

A Master of Public Health class in 1982, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

Today
The Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine, photo, Radius September 2006.

Students observe the interaction of patient, doctor and staff in a role play

Students observe the interaction of patient, doctor and staff in a role play, photo, Radius April 2005.

The first graduates of the graduate-entry Medical Program (2001)

The first graduates of the graduate-entry University of Sydney Medical Program (USydMP) in 2001, photo, Sydney Medical School.

Welcome to new students 2004

From left, students Rewena Shaw, Joel Hissnick, Bill Bestic and Matt Murray with Dr Barry Catchlove at the Medical Graduates’ Association welcome to new students in the Anderson Stuart courtyard in 2004, photo, Radius April 2004.

Mlestone for postgraduate Indigenous health education at the University, 2009

On 1 May 2009, 27 students graduated from the School of Public Health’s Indigenous health programs, the largest single group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to graduate from postgraduate courses at this University, photo, Radius Winter 2009.

MedSoc Councillors at the Med Ball in 2009

MedSoc Councillors at the Med Ball in 2009, Radius September 2009]].

Information sources
  • 'A History of the University of Sydney, Vol 1, 1850 - 1939', by Clifford Turney, Ursula Bygott and Peter Chippendale
  • National Library of Australia historic newspapers
  • University of Sydney Calendar Archive
  • The Medical School's history


Lis Bergmann, 2012