Students at the University of Sydney

Students in the early years

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

View more information and photos about early women Veterinary Science students.

On this webpage:


Click on images for enlargement.


FACULTY OF VETERINARY SCIENCE 1920

Milestones

1909:  The Department of Veterinary Science was established within the Faculty of Science to offer a licence in veterinary science for candidates who completed and passed exams in a 4-year course of study. Those who had obtained the licence could proceed to the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science after further one year's study. Professor James Douglas Stewart was appointed Professor of Veterinary Science.
1910: The first intake of 16 Veterinary Science students comprised John Bourke, Basil Cohen, Andrew Cunningham, Vivian Davis, Rowland Dowling, Gerald Finlay, Friedrich Geyer, William Hindmarsh, Edward James, Charles Lucas, Herbert Lucas, Hugh MacLaurin, Robert Patten, John Stewart, Bertie Veech and Cecil Walters.
  Students were accommodated in the basement of the then Fisher Library (now MacLaurin Hall) in the southwest corner of the Quadrangle. It had been set up as an anatomy museum and lecture room.
  Professor Stewart, who had a veterinary science qualification from Edinburgh, was admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science.
1912: Senate approved Professor Stewart's proposal that the licence in veterinary science be abandoned and the Bachelor of Veterinary Science course be reduced to 4 years.
1913: The Veterinary Science Building (now JD Stewart Building) was completed.
1914: The first to graduate Bachelor of Veterinary Science (in April) having successfully completed the 4 year course were: Vivian Davis, Gerald Finlay, William Hindmarsh, Edward James, Robert Patten, John Stewart, Bertie Veech and Cecil Walters. The following graduated BVSc in December 1914: Rowland Dowling, Friedrich Geyer and William Ridley.
1920: The Veterinary School obtained Faculty status and Professor J D Stewart became Dean.
1928: Ian Clunies Ross was awarded the first Doctorate of Veterinary Science.
1930: The first woman undergraduate student Ann Flashman (later Rylah) was admitted to the Faculty.
  Student numbers had remained low (around 15 per year) until 1930 when undergraduate veterinary science teaching ended at Melbourne University. Numbers then grew rapidly.
1933: The first woman Bachelor of Veterinary Science graduate was Patricia Littlejohn (later Abbott).
1935: 104 undergraduates were enrolled in Veterinary Science.
1936: The first of the University farms – the 162 hectare McGarvie Smith Farm at Badgery's Creek – was purchased with the objective of setting up a field training centre for Veterinary Science students.
1955: Peter Claringbold was the first to gain a Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty.
2012: There were 890 women and 310 men student enrolments in the Faculty as at 31 March.
  The 19 rural properties collectively termed the ‘Camden Farms’ comprise an area of around 1500ha between Camden and Badgery’s Creek. These farms are essential to supporting the present core teaching and research activities of the Faculty of Veterinary Science and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

Gallery

In the early 1900s
1910

The first Vet Science students in 1910. Back: H Lucas, J Bourke, W Hindmarsh, R Dowling, F Geyer, B Veech, C Walters, G Finlay. Middle: R Patten, H Baker (staff), JD Stewart (Professor), V Davis, E James. Front: J Stewart and H MacLaurin (absent: A Cunningham, B Cohen, C Lucas), photo, Faculty timeline website.

1913

Gerald Finlay (IV), Edward James (IV), Herbert Lucas (III), Bertie Veech (IV), Robert Patten (IV), John Stewart (IV) & William Hindmarsh (IV) at Berry Experimental Farm where practical work was undertaken, photo G3_224_1282, University Archives.

In the 1910s
1914

Gerald Finlay was one of the first Veterinary Science graduates in 1914, photo, 'One hundred years: the school at the foot of the hill'. who enlisted in WWI as a Veterinary Officer, gained his PhD from Cambridge in 1923, carried out a lecture tour of country districts to arouse interest in better animal husbandry practices, reported on the state of the animal industries in Tasmania and after WWII was a teaching Fellow in Animal Genetics.

Rowland Dowling
Rowland Dowling
graduated BVSc in
1914. He enlisted in the
Australian Army Veterinary Corps
and was invalided home in 1918.
He became Veterinary Officer,
Commerce Department,
Commonwealth Government,
photo, Faculty timeline website.
Friedrich Geyer
Friedrich Geyer
graduated BVSc in
1914. He enlisted in WWI
and later became Deputy Assistant
Director of Veterinary Services in NSW,
photo, Faculty timeline website.
William Hindmarsh
William Hindmarsh graduated BVSc in
1914. He who enlisted in WWI 
and was on the staff of the NSW
Department of Agriculture until 1953,
photo, Faculty timeline website..
Edward James
Edward James
graduated BVSc in
1914. He enlisted in the
Australian Light Horse Regiment
and later became District Veterinary
Officer, Glanmorganshire, NSW,
photo, Faculty timeline website..
Robert Patten  
Robert Patten graduated BVSc in
1914 and became superintendent
(and later curator) of
Taronga Zoological Park,
photo, Faculty timeline website.
John Stewart  
John Stewart
graduated BVSc in
1914 and won the University
Medal and the William Cooper
and Nephew's prize. He 
became a well-known Sydney 
veterinary surgeon,
photo, Faculty timeline website.
Bertie Veech  
Bertie Veech
graduated BVSc in
1914. He then enlisted in WWI and
later became District Veterinary
Officer for the North Coast of NSW,
photo, Faculty timeline website.
Cecil Walters
 
Cecil Walters graduated BVSc in
1914. he enlisted in the
Army Veterinary Corps. In 1923
he graduated in medicine and 
was awarded the CBE in 1954
for his services to medicine,
photo, Faculty timeline website.

1914

The Veterinary Science building, which had been completed a year earlier, in 1914, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

1914

Veterinary students under Professor Stewart throwing an animal for treatment, photo, The Sydney Mail, 8 April 1914, Google News Archive.

1914

On the operating bed, photo, The Sydney Mail, 8 April 1914, Google News Archive.

Captain William Ridley

Captain William Ridley, who graduated Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1915, left for the front the same year as part of the 12th Regiment, Australian Light Horse, and was killed in action in France in 1917, photo, Faculty of Veterinary Science online history timeline.

Captain Herbert Lucas

Captain Herbert Lucas, who graduated Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1916, served on the Western Front in the 1st Mobile Veterinary Section of the Australian Army Veterinary Corps and returned to Australia on 1 November 1919, photo, 'Hermes", October 1919.

In the 1920s
1922

Veterinary Science staff and students in 1922, photo G3_224_0985, University of Sydney Archives.

1925

A view of the veterinary science precinct behind the main building (JD Stewart Building) circa 1925. The Roundhouse (horse observation box) is in front of St John’s College (background). The original surgery and clinic are to the left of the Roundhouse. In front are the foundations of the proposed surgery and clinic, which eventually became the foundations of the McMaster Building, photo, 'One hundred years: the school at the foot of the hill'.

1927

Veterinary Science staff and students in 1927, photo G3_224_1449, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

A Veterinary Science student in 1927, photo P183_1_0265 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

A Veterinary Science staff member and student in 1927, photo P183_1_0267 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

A Veterinary Science student drenching a heifer in 1927, photo P183_1_0266 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

Professor J D Stewart and Mr J K Hawthorne in 1927, photo P183_1_0268 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

Mr R M C Gunn in 1927, photo P183_1_0264 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

The Veterinary School's horse observation box in 1927, photo P183_1_0036 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives. The building was designed in 1920 by the University architect and first dean of the faculty of architecture, Professor Leslie Wilkinson, who named it the Round House despite its octagonal design. It was completed in 1922 and originally used by veterinary science lecturers when demonstrating to students on cows and horses.

The Veterinary School horse observation box

The Veterinary School horse observation box, photo, Faculty website.

1927

The Veterinary Science crew won the University Inter-faculty eights in 1927, photo from 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 1 August 1927, National Library of Australia.

1928

The Veterinary Science crew won the University Inter-faculty rowing chamionship in 1928, photo from 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 30 July 1928, National Library of Australia.

Ian Clunies Ross

Ian Clunies Ross, the first Doctorate of Veterinary Science, 1928, photo from 'The Sydney Morning herald', 19 August 1928, National Library of Australia.

In the 1930s
Ann Flashman

Ann Flashman, the first woman Veterinary Science student, admitted in 1930, and the second woman Veterinary Science graduate in 1936, photo, courtesy Faculty of Veterinary Science website

1930

Veterinary Science students dissecting a pig in 1930, photo G3_224_0333, University of Sydney Archives.

1930

A Veterinary Science float at Commem Day 1930, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 1930, National Library of Australia.

1935

Veterinary Science staff and students in 1935, photo G3_224_2704, University of Sydney Archives.

1936

Veterinary Science staff and students in 1936, photo G3_224_2705, University of Sydney Archives.

1937

The successful veterinary science rugby team of 1937 - winner of The Shute Cup, photo, 'One hundred years: the school at the foot of the hill'.

1939

Veterinary Science students in a dissecting room in 1939, photo G3_224_0279, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1940s
The Round house

The Round house, photo by Max Dupain, Faculty website.

1946

Peter Newling, Eric Brookbanks, Bertram Cook and Harman Brown were four New Zealanders who were attending a Veterinary Science course at Sydney University under a scheme financed by the New Zealand Government. During their vacation period in August 1946, they decided to hitchhike from Sydney to Cairns and return, photo, Morning Bulletin, 24 August 1946, National Library of Australia.

 Miu Yen-Sun

One of five Chinese science graduates
who began postgraduate research work
at the University in 1946, Miu Yen-Sun
was at the Veterinary School
specialising in sheep and wool, and is
pictured examinig a sheep with a fellow
student. The five Chinese science
graduates were the the first group of
overseas students to study at an
Australian University after WW2.

 Liau King Shan

Liau King Shan was also at the
Veterinary School  where he was
studying animal husbandry.
Photos, The Australian
Women's Weekly,
3 August 1946,
National Library of Australia.


In the 1950s
1950

The Faculty's successful soccer team in 1950, photo, 'One hundred years: the school at the foot of the hill'.

1951

Second Year Veterinary Science in 1951 (Graduates of 1955), photo, 'One hundred years: the school at the foot of the hill'.

1957

Veterinary students watch an operation on a cow at Sydney University in 1957, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Australian Photographic Agency - 03765.

1957

Veterinary students watch an operation on a cow at Sydney University in 1957, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Australian Photographic Agency - 03766.

In the 1970s
1973

Margaret Perry at the Sydney University Veterinary Science Ball held at the Sebel Townhouse, Elizabeth Bay, in February 1973, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 7 February 1973, National Library of Australia.

1973

Vicki Bunce, one of the graduates, with Geoff Lane at the Sydney University Veterinary Science Ball held at the Sebel Townhouse, Elizabeth Bay, in February 1973, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 7 February 1973, National Library of Australia.

In the 1980s
1985

A consultancy service was introduced in March 1985 at the Faculty's Veterinary Hospital and Clinic. The service provided physiological exercise testing for racehorses. A feature of the service was a moving treadmill to exercise horses up to a galloping speed of 45-50 k/ph, photo, The University of Sydney Annual Report 1985.

1988

Students learning how to handle sheep at the Animal Reproduction Unit, Camden, while the Manager of the Unit, John Ellsmore, looks on, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1988.

In the 1990s
1990

Veterinary Science graduates in 1990, photo G77_1_2158, University of Sydney Archives.

1991

Veterinary Science students staged a 'shampooching' service for members of the public on 2 October 1991 when dozens of people turned up for the offer of a free shampoo for their pet dogs. The aim of the event, which was part of National Pet Week, was to support the vererinary profession and industry. Pictured (from left) are students Ann Milham and Karin Davids, with Harry the dog and his owner, Mary Mitchelhill, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1991.

Today
The J D Stewart Building

The J D Stewart Building, photo, University of Sydney.

The Veterinary Science Conference Centre

The Veterinary Science Conference Centre, photo, sydneyarchitecture.

The Roundhouse under repair 2009

The 1922 small octagonal timber Roundhouse being restored to its original state in 2009, photo, UniNews, September 2009. The restoration conserved Wilkinson’s original design and included complete reshingling of the roof and data cabling.

The Roundhouse today

The restored Roundhouse won a major heritage award from the National Trust of Australia on 23 April 2012, photo, University of Sydney News ... more.

The lifelike model of a dogs abdomen helping veterinary students hone their surgical skills

The lifelike model of a dog's abdomen helping veterinary students hone their surgical skills, photo, University of Sydney News ... more.

Three of the 74 students who worked on a study on saltwater crocodile genetics

(L-R) Cali Willet, Professor Jaime Gongora, Jessica Fletcher and Danielle Johinke. Cali, Jessica and Danielle were three of the 74 students who worked on a study on saltwater crocodile genetics which was published in the Australian Journal of Zoology on 12 July 2012, photo, University of Sydney News ... more.

The first Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences graduates in 2006.

The first Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences graduates in 2006, photo from the Faculty's website.

Information sources
  • University of Sydney Calendar Archive
  • National Library of Australia historic newspapers
  • The Australian Veterinary Journal, October 1935
  • 'Patricia K Littlejohn BVSc', by Robin Giesecke
  • The Faculty's historical timeline
  • 'Women in the Faculty of Veterinary Science, the University of Sydney - The early years', by Paul canfield and Jennifer Edols, in the Australian Veterinary History Record, July 1999.
  • 'One hundred years: the school at the foot of the hill', by Paul Canfield, Honorary Faculty Archivist.


Lis Bergmann, 2012