An exhibition of material from the Monash University Library

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81. Smith, Louis L. (Louis Lawrence), 1830-1910.

Medical household sketches, or, Popular treatises for parlour and bush-hut on the diseases prevalent in Australasia / by Louis L. Smith.

Melbourne : H. Cordell, Printer, [1873?]

Smith, a fascinating character, was in his own words, “the only legally qualified medical practitioner who advertised.” He solicited postal consultations, and advocated the Brown-Sequard treatment (subcutaneous injections of orchitic and other glandular extracts). He founded the annual Medical Almanac in 1860, which was continued after his death. He was prominent in medical, commercial, political and sporting life in Melbourne. This book was compiled from articles written by Dr. Smith in the Australian Journal, under the name of 'Colonial Lancet'. [Ford 1942]

82. Holmes, Thomas James (The Wardmaster)

Recipes, secret, selected, practical, original : comprising the home doctor, invalid cookery, cakes, pastry etc., household recipes, toilet secrets, beverages, confectionery, etc., etc. / compiled by the Wardmaster. (Melbourne : Veritas Library, [1924])

TJ Holmes served in the RAMC during the Great War and came to Australia after it. He was the secretary (and possibly founder) of the Disabled Servicemen’s Association of Australia. His intentions seem to have been to educate the public on health matters, and to provide income for returned servicemen who were not able to work; they were given the books to sell on the street. [BIBAM]

83. Jenkins, William Henry, 1831-1875.

The family medical index; or, What to do in cases of emergency : written expressly for the colonies / by William Henry Jenkins. (Melbourne : F.F. Bailliere, publisher, 1874.

This was first published as a weekly supplement to the Hamilton (Victoria) Spectator during 1873. The articles are arranged alphabetically from Abscess to Yellow Fever, with reference to local conditions, especially when dealing with hydatids, snake-bite and sunstroke. This rare book may have been commoner had not Jenkins died the year after its publication from one of the diseases he discusses – dipsomania. [Ford 1049]

Flat Case 10

Psychological medicine

This section contains books dealing with that part of psychological medicine that I, as a rheumatologist, come across. I am not involved in the treatment of severe depressive or psychotic illness, but rather that ill-defined field of ‘psychosomatic medicine,’ by which I mean the complex interaction

between mind and body.

84. Cheyne, George, 1673-1743.

The English malady: or, a treatise of nervous diseases of all kinds : as spleen, vapours, lowness of spirits, hypochondiracal, and hysterical distempers, &c. ... / By George Cheyne (London : printed for G. Strahan, and J. Leake at Bath, 1733)

A classic account of hypochondria, which he attributed to the moisture and variability of the British climate. He draws largely on his own symptoms, making the eponym ‘Cheyne’s disease’ doubly appropriate. [GM 4840]

85. Ross, T. A. (Thomas Arthur), 1875-1941.

An Enquiry into prognosis in the neuroses / by T.A. Ross. (Cambridge : University Press, 1936)

A favourite of mine. Ross ran the Cassell Hospital for Nervous Diseases after the Great War, and sent his shell-shock and other patients an annual questionnaire to see how they were getting on after leaving hospital. An interesting finding was that wives would beg him to stop sending these annual circulars of inquiry, because it reawakened the old symptoms in their previously-well husbands.

86. Gavin, Hector.

On feigned and factitious diseases, chiefly of soldiers and seamen ; on the means used to simulate or produce them, and on the best modes of discovering impostors ; being the prize essay in the class of military surgery, in the University of Edinburgh, session, 1835-6, with additions / by Hector Gavin. (London : John Churchill, 1843)

This book is a wonderful discussion of the tricks men got up to in order to avoid military service. Gavin wrote it in the hope that it might serve “either to prevent the honourable physician from being made the dupe of the artful impostor, or guard him against judging too harshly in doubtful cases and unjustly punishing the innocent.” True malingering (complete fabrication of symptoms) is rare in civilian life, although the question of how much is real, and how much is put on, lies at the very heart of medico-legal practice.

87. Ellery, Reg S. (Reginald Spencer), 1897-1955

Psychiatric aspects of modern warfare / Reg. S. Ellery. (Melbourne : Reed & Harris, 1945)

In 1940, Ellery was one of the co-founders of the Melbourne Institute for Psycho-Analysis. He was, in addition, an ‘armchair socialist’ and a peripheral figure in the Angry Penguins movement. He gave Sidney Nolan examples of drawings by psychotic patients, and one of Nolan’s resultant paintings is used as the cover of this book. Ellery suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, and was said to be the first person in Victoria to be treated with cortisone.

88. Erichsen, John Eric, 1818-1896.

On railway and other injuries of the nervous system / by John Eric Erichsen. (London : Walton and Maberly, 1866)

Erichsen wrote this book as a result of his experiences with people injured in railway accidents, which occurred fairly often in the early days of rail travel, as speed was increased and safety features were just being developed. Anyone doubting the horror of these incidents can read Dickens’s short ghost story The Signal-Man, based on the Clayton Tunnel crash of 1861, but written after his own involvement in the Staplehurst rail crash in 1865. Many of Erichsen’s patients were seriously injured, but he gives a detailed discussion, for the first time, of the condition widely known as ‘whiplash.’ [GM 4538.1]

Flat Case 11

Public Issues

89. Girdlestone, T. M. (Tharp Mountain), 1823-1899

Under the floor / by T.M. Girdlestone. Rev. ed. (Melbourne : Australian Health Society, 1887)

One of the lectures published by the Australian Health Society, in which Girdlestone, the Medical Officer of Health, criticizes the local drainage. In 1885, George Sala wrote an article entitled “Marvellous Melbourne.” This jingoistic phrase was taken up widely, and a play of that title was produced in 1889. In it, one of the characters parodies it as Marvellous sMelbourne, a label that achieved currency as Marvellous Smellbourne. [GM 735]

90. Muskett, Philip E. (Philip Edward), 1857-1909

The art of living in Australia / by Philip E. Muskett ; together with three hundred Australian cookery recipes and accessory kitchen information by Mrs. H. Wicken. (London ; Melbourne : Eyre and Spottiswoode, [1892?])

This book has sections on the Australian climate, bathing, ventilation, clothing, diet, exercise, food habits, fish, oysters, wine and cookery. [Ford 1443]

91. Bruce, John L. (John Leck)

The Australian sanitary inspector's text book / by John L. Bruce and Theodore Mailler Kendall. (Sydney : William Brooks, 1901)

A well-illustrated reminder of the importance to living of fresh air, safe food and water, and the removal of waste.

92. “The work that can cripple”, in ABEU newsletter, no. 5 (Aug. 1983) (Melbourne : Australian Bank Employees Union, 1983)

In 1980, workers began to complain of pain, usually somewhere in the dominant forequarter, attributed to overuse. Although this was either an exaggeration of normal fatigue, or one of the common conditions, such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome, a new term was introduced in Melbourne – Repetitive Strain Injury. Between 1980 and 1986, by which time the epidemic of RSI had passed, over 30% of Telecom Australia’s staff had needed time off for this condition. In these cases, which occurred on a background of high unemployment and interest rates on bank loans of 18%, the only useful measures were often just education and reassurance. This edition of the ABEU newsletter, with its sensational story under a photograph of a cheque-processing machine, contradicted the messages that a treating doctor would want to convey. It is a treasured reminder of the time.

Small Upright Case

Karyon : journal of the Monash University Medical Undergraduates' Society. Number 1 – 1964, edited by N. Pointer.

The first issue of the annual magazine (as against the yearbook) of the Monash Medical School. The last edition in the collection is 1974.

Pruritus : the official organ of the MUMUS.

This newsletter appeared between 1962 and 1972; the volume on display contains 1965-1970, which were my undergraduate years. Started by Ron Matthews, Pruritus acquired popularity outside the Medical Faculty in the early days because of its student humour, and saw itself as being in competition with the Monash Association of Students’ publication Chaos (subsequently called Lot’s Wife.)

Porter, Robert (ed.)

Studies in neurophysiology : presented to AK McIntyre. Cambridge University Press, 1978.

Archibald McIntyre was the first Professor of Physiology at Monash. This festschrift marked his retirement, and emphasises the importance that neurophysiology had in the development of the Department. Robert Porter was himself Professor of Physiology at Monash, and later Dean of the Faculty.

A decade of medical progress 1975-1985 : Monash medical graduates' ten year reunion, October 1985.

There is a good, but by no means complete, run of reunion magazines in the collection. It would be wonderful if graduates, for whose reunion one of these ephemeral publications was produced, could fill in the gaps.

Nairn RC (editor). Fluorescent protein tracing. 2nd ed. E & S Livingstone, 1964

Nairn was Professor of Pathology at Monash University from 1963-1984. This is a signed presentation copy to the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria.

Lake, Joshua (editor).

Childhood in bud and blossom : a souvenir book of the Children's Hospital Bazaar. Melbourne: The Atlas Press, 1900

A pretty book, with many illustrations and a short history of the Children’s Hospital, this is copy no. 68 of a deluxe limited edition. [Ford 1355]

Perry, Grace, 1927-1987

Staring the stars : and other poems. Sydney: Consolidated Press, 1943

Grace Perry was born in Melbourne, but graduated MB, BS from the University of Sydney in 1951; she is the most important figure in Australian medical poetry. In addition to her in paediatric practice in Five Dock, she founded the South Head Press, and published the periodical Poetry Australia. Her encouragement gave a start to many poets, medical and non-medical. This is a reprint of her first published work, written in 1942, when she was only 15 years of age. It is a signed presentation copy to Rex Ingamells, 23 September, 1943.

Meares, Ainslie, 1910-1986)

How distant the stars : case notes and other poems. Melbourne: F.W. Cheshire, 1949

This is copy number 59/150, inscribed to Guy Springthorpe, a fellow psychiatrist: “This is nearly as bad as giving someone your Rorschach to read.” [Not in BIBAM]

Corridor Cases

Fremantle Lunatic Asylum. Occurrence Book. Entries for march 1889 to November 1891.

This manuscript book from the old Fremantle Asylum was given to me by Robert Finlay-Jones, who has been a close friend and fellow bibliophile for over 30 years. The word-perfect monotony of the entries emphasises the parlous state of mental institutions a century ago.

Prescription Books from Howard James Pharmacy, 289 Bridge Rd, Richmond.

The pharmacy on the corner of Church St and Bridge Rd, Richmond, was closed in 1990, in response to a Government incentive. The pharmacy had been started by John Clark Jones in 1852; in 1900 the proprietor was George May, his nephew. In 1914 the proprietor was Robert Holdsworth, who had come from a pharmacy in Beaufort, Victoria, who was succeeded by his daughter, Nancy Holdsworth. In 1960 Howard James became the proprietor, until the end.

Driving past, I noticed that it was being vacated and, in a variation of the book collecting technique known as ‘hearse-chasing,’ I stopped to ask if there were any old prescription books I could have or, if necessary, buy (the latter, as it turned out.)

This remarkable run of 76 prescription books, from 1902 to 1986 (unbroken from 1930), records over half a million prescriptions provided to the local community. In addition, there are 2 Own-Prescribe books covering prescriptions for staff, and veterinary prescriptions, and 2 manuscript recipe books for the various Jones’ mixtures, and the favourite mixtures of local medical practitioners. A thesis awaits!

Health and Physical Culture.

This magazine was started in 1929 in Sydney, by Alfred James Briton; on display are several early numbers. One frequent topic is eugenics, with articles by Marion Piddington (1869-1950), described by Diana Wyndham as a ‘loose cannon.’


On the screens on the western wall are displayed colour photocopies of ephemeral publications to do with health, not necessarily in the order they are listed here. They are all rare; either the only known copy, or hitherto unrecorded. If the date of publication is not stated, I give my estimate, based on internal evidence.

Gresswell, Dan Astley MD (Oxon) [1853-1904]

Report ... to the Board of Public Health on bubonic plague : The plague - the Black Death. (Melbourne : Robert Brain, Government Printer, 1900)

not in Ford [see 793], not in BIBAM

Central Board of Health, Victoria.

Precautions against small-pox. (Melbourne : John Ferres, Government Printer, 1872)

These regulations, made under the Public Health Statute, 1867, are dated 18th July 1872. TR Wilson, was the Board secretary. Smallpox was a greatly feared epidemic, because of its high mortality and the facial disfigurement of survivors. The disease was officially eradicated in 1979 (though stockpiles of the virus still exist). The first author of the definitive history of smallpox and its eradication was Frank Fenner, an eminent Australian virologist (See item 66).

Consultative Council on Poliomyelitis, Victoria.

Statement on poliomyelitis for the guidance of parents. (Melbourne : no colophon, 1950-55?)

The Council was chaired by Dr. WDG Upjohn; other members were JB Colquhoun, Jean MacNamara, CH Hembrow, H McLorinan, AM Morris and H Buchanan. The poliomyelitis virus caused epidemics of disease in the early 1950s. While this was often asymptomatic, or caused only transient neurological abnormality, significant numbers of children had permanent paralysis of a leg or arm. The most feared complication was involvement of the respiratory muscles, requiring permanent ventilation in an “iron lung.” With the introduction of the Salk and then the Sabin vaccines in Australia, the disease has disappeared here (though the virus still exists).

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