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College of Surgeons Museum and Art Gallery and Fire Services Museum of Victoria 

Members from Probus Club of Donvale Hill Incorporated commenced the day with a visit to the College of Surgeons, 250 Spring Street, East Melbourne.  The Curator, Geoff Down, gave a brief history of its establishment.  It was the site of the former Melbourne High School.  The present building was opened on 4 March 1935 by Holbert Waring.  The foyer contained glass display cabinets showing early kidney stone removal instruments, and another showing carbolic spray apparatus used in the 19th century to disinfect the operating theatre.  The museum is currently showing a World War 1 display.  It included examples of operating tables, canvas stretchers and work done in facial reconstruction necessary after shrapnel and bullet injuries.  There were records from Heidelberg Military Hospital, Vic detailing successful reconstruction using plastic surgery.  80 percent of lives were lost when shattered bones pierced arteries and a display cabinet showed the Thomas splint which immobilised the limb enabling 80 percent of lives to be saved.  Various scary surgical instruments were on view.  It was an excellent display and was done in a very sensitive way.  The Council Room housed a lot of antique furniture and a wall of rare medical history books from the collection of Leslie Cowlishaw from Derbyshire. Currently there are 1500 trainees studying at the college. 

After lunch the group met at the Fire Services Museum of Victoria in Gisborne Street, East Melbourne.  The Museum is an organisation dedicated to the preservation and showcasing of fire-fighting memorabilia from Victoria, Australia and overseas. The tour was conducted with excellent commentary by Jeff Annal, ex MFB firefighter.  The museum was full of wonderful items which excited big kids and small kids alike.  There was a marvellous display of working fire engines including the Hotchkiss Fire engine of 1914.  There were fire helmets from all around the world decorating the walls, together with firemen climbing ladders.  We were told of a ghost named William who jumped off the ledge of the 49m watch tower many years ago.  The fire control room was opened in 1927 and gave 65 years of service.  It was an integral part of the old fire station. The fire control room now operates from Burwood.  The shop contained a wonderful selection of fire service memorabilia. 

 Di Lambley