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Welcome to the History of Medicine Library.

The Library

The library holds approximately 40,000 items covering all aspects of medical history, with a comprehensive focus on Australian material. The collection covers monographs, journals, artworks, manuscripts, photographs, correspondence and antique medical instruments. Much of the material is rare and unique.

The History of Medicine Library is involved in a wide range of activities which includes a Lecture Series, the College Roll, a quarterly Newsletter, publications and various initiatives involving the research activities of the College. We service the research needs of College fellows, College staff, academics, history students, genealogists and even occasionally medical researchers and lawyers who need to research the past. Any member of the public who is  genuinely interested in medical history is welcome to visit, take a guided tour of the library and refer to our holdings in our well appointed Reading Room.

Historical tours are available to  interested members of the public free of charge  Mon to  Fri 9:00am - 4:30pm or later with notice. Note that appointments at least a day or two ahead of your visit are preferred. Also, note that the library will be closed on Tuesday 25th February, Tuesday 4th March, Tuesday 18th March, Tuesday 1st April, Tuesday 22nd April , Tuesday 29th April etc. These closure dates are flexible, however, and if you need to visit the library on one of  these days please contact the librarian to discuss. 


Library Services

Information Service

We can provide historical information, from readings that serve as a  background to lectures, to  published papers or books. Our staff will search electronic and printed sources for you, or refer you to resources that you can access. The librarian is a is especially willing and able to guide historical research.


Fellows, Trainees, college staff and members of the public may borrow from some of the collection. Members of the public should enquire through inter library loans at their own library. Rare and valuable material published before 1900 is generally not for loan but can be viewed our Reading Room. Photocopy facilities are nearby.

 The library's  services are free to bona fide researchers.

 Library Lecture Series

Presentations devoted to exploring the history and development of medicine  and are delivered quarterly. Topics are chosen with the interests of both medical people and the general public in mind. Likely topics for 2014 include childbirth and obstetrics in the 18th and 19th centuries and the use of medical data gathered during the Nazi period in current research.

Early Medicine

A Catalogue of Books (chiefly medical) printed before 1801 is now available in the History of Medicine Library.

RACP History of Medicine Course

The RACP History of Medicine Library Committee is  designing a unique medical history course for physicians, medical specialists, historians and other academics for June 2014. Some of Australia's most distinguished historians and medical experts will take you on a journey through the evolution of medicine in a developing colonial society.

If you are interested in participating in the course either by webinar or by attending lectures, please register your interest by contacting the RACP Librarian, David Russell , by email on or by telephone +61 2 9256 5413.

Thank you to those who registered their interest in the 2013 course. You will be notified shortly of the proposed 2014 course.