Medical Students before the turn of the century

From Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive

Jump to: navigation, search

1883 was the first year that students were accepted for undergraduate training in the Faculty of Medicine. These students were from quite different social backgrounds to the wealthy university gentlemen of the previous decades.[1] The Faculty was attracting a more inclusive cohort of medical students, which reflected the changing times as Sydney moved towards the dawn of the twentieth century. Many were Australian born and came from middle-class and increasingly from working-class families; children of schoolmasters, wheelwrights, mining agents, stonecutters, accountants and pharmacists.

The first year, six candidates enrolled in Medicine II. Of these, only one graduated, David Dunlop Rutledge, and he did so only after repeating a year. Four of the remainder quickly discontinued but one, Ernest Theodore Holle, persisted until 1889. In the second intake (1884) there were ten new students and two students repeating the year (both of whom ultimately discontinued). Of the ten, five graduated in minimum time (Bancroft, Perkins, Armstrong, A G Henry and Davidson) and one (Kelly) graduated after repeating a year; the remaining four discontinued. In the third intake there were fifteen students, including the first woman to enroll in Medicine in Australia, Dagmar Berne. Two other students were repeating from the previous year but ultimately discontinued. Six of the remaining thirteen graduated in minimum time and one (W. J. Sherlow) graduated as late as 1892 after repeating several years. Dagmar Berne did not graduate from the University of Sydney. Overall, of the twenty-nine candidates who enrolled in the first three intakes, eleven graduated in minimum time and three after repeating one or more years. Confidence in the quality of the medical program encouraged increased enrolments, so that by 1893, ten years after its inception, the student body numbered close to one hundred.[1] By the time of the University’s Jubilee in 1902, this number had nearly doubled.