RACS launches Anzac Surgeons of Gallipoli Exhibition

You might have noticed I haven’t been very active in the past week …. you can blame it on the ‘flu.

I thought this might be of interest – the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) will this evening launch the Anzac Surgeons of Gallipoli Exhibition and an accompanying book that commemorates the role of Australian and New Zealand surgeons and medical students who later became surgeons, in the Gallipoli campaign.

The Gallipoli Exhibition features a mock-up of a casualty clearing station in the foyer of the College offices in Melbourne, making reference to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, which remained on Anzac Beach throughout the campaign.

The College Exhibition will feature WW1 artefacts, some borrowed and others from the College’s collections, such as surgical kits and instruments, original stretchers and newspapers from 1915.

It also includes Captain Poate’s map of Gallipoli and Archibald Watson’s surgical diaries.

Captain Hugh Poate, an enlisted Sydney surgeon, was posted to the 1st Field Ambulance, where at the beginning of the campaign he worked on transports ferrying the wounded from Gallipoli to Egypt.

Archibald Watson was a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Adelaide and was the Chief Pathologist in Egypt during the Gallipoli campaign.

The history of the campaign is well documented in the exhibition by museum posters detailing medical arrangements, information on ‘Black’ ships, hospitals on Lemnos and Egypt, as well as information on wounds and infectious diseases.

The accompanying book entitled Anzac Surgeons of Gallipoli, contains 128 biographies written by Australian and New Zealand RACS Fellows and College staff and was edited by the College’s archivist Elizabeth Milford and the incoming RACS President, David Watters.

According to Professor Watters, the book tells the story of the 1915 campaign fought in the Dardanelles by Great Britain, its Empire and France on behalf of their ally, Russia.

“It talks about the medical arrangements, how war wounds were managed almost 100 years ago and is packed full of biographies of the surgeons who served in the Anzac forces on hospital ships and military bases,” Professor Watters said.

 The exhibition will be open to the public during standard RACS museum open hours from 10am-4pm Monday to Thursday at 250-290 Spring Street, East Melbourne, Victoria.

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