Melbourne Medical School prepping for 150th anniversary

August 11 / 67

Alumni of the Melbourne Medical School enjoy the festivities
Alumni of the Melbourne Medical School enjoy the festivities

By Liz Brentnall

The Melbourne Medical School has welcomed alumni back to the University for the first celebration of the forthcoming 150th anniversary. 

Held to thank alumni for their contributions to the development of the 150th anniversary calendar, the evening party was also attended by medical student ambassadors and past and present staff. 

Hosted by the Head of the Medical School, Professor James Best and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Professor James Angus AO, guests ranged in age from a seasoned 95 to 20-year-old MD students, and included three former MDHS deans, Professor Emeritus David Penington AC (also Vice-Chancellor 1988-95), Professor Emeritus Graeme Ryan AC and Professor Emeritus Gordon Clunie. 

The evening was spent discussing plans for commemorating and celebrating the milestone, and catching up with colleagues.

Anniversary celebrations will include events for medical alumni which highlight the rich cultural and academic resources bought to the school by the broader University. 

University Chancellor Elizabeth Alexander AO welcomed guests and reflected on the beginnings of Australian medical teaching at the University.

The brainchild of Anthony Colling Brownless, who also served as Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor, the Medical School opened its doors to Australia’s first three medical students on 3 March 1862, with no facilities or money and few prospects of acquiring either.

Despite repeated requests for financial assistance, the University had received no government support to establish their medical school and was forced to call on its own resources.

 In doing this, Chancellor Alexander noted, the University not only cut back planned expenditure on the grounds, but also reduced the salaries of two lecturers in Law and one in Civil Engineering - a move accepted, apparently, with relative alacrity by the staff.

To find out more about the MMS 150th Anniversary, see



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