Academic Gown formerly owned by Professor George B. Halford (1824-1910)

The gown is of soft, black grossgrain type of material, lined with magenta silk (St Andrews).

A letter dated 17/6/87 from George Halford (grandson) confirms that he and his wife delivered the "tattered gown and hat" to Professor Harold Attwood (1928–2005), at an earlier date, and were pleased with the restoration of the gown which was displayed in an exhibition in the Medical History Museum.

It was 1 May 1863 when George Britton Halford (1824–1910) started as the first professor of anatomy, physiology and pathology, at the Medical School. There were three students, Patrick Moloney (1843-1904), Alexander Mackie(1839-1892) and William Carey Rees (1843–1879), and classes were held in a shed erected at the back of Professor Halford’s private rooms.

In 1876 the faculty of medicine was established and took over administration of courses from the Medical School Committee. Halford was elected Dean and held office until 1886 and again in 1890-96.

Halford recommended as early as 1871, while president of the professorial board, that women who passed the relevant examinations sign the matriculation book should be admitted to the University of Melbourne. However, Vice-Chancellor A.C. Brownless’s (1817–1897) view of university education did not extend to the inclusion of women; he actively opposed the motion to admit women to the University of Melbourne in 1879, and to admit women to medicine in 1887.
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Object detail

cotton, silk
Accession Number
Credit line
Gift of Mr George Halford
Object Type
Medical History Museum Category


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