Marks-Hirschfeld Museum of Medical History

The Marks-Hirshfeld Museum is a collection of several thousand items directly related to the historical study of Medicine. The Museum is maintained through the dedication of volunteers and financial assistance provided by the Alumni Association of the University of Queensland, the Graduate School of Medicine and interested individuals.

The Museum's collection is intended to provide a focal point for the study of medical history in Queensland in particular, although many of its holdings are applicable to broader developments within Austalia. Some items are of considerable interest in the development of medical practice internationally.

It is a medical History museum,senate approved, located in the Mayne Medical School, Herston, some items available for loan for exhibitions and film props.


The Marks-Hirschfeld Museum of Medical History houses one of the finest collections of medical memorabilia and surgical instruments in Australia. It serves scholars and researchers as well as visitors and forms a focus on the medical past which brings a better perspective on the present. The collection consists of medical instruments, medical equipment including furniture, photographs, books, the bibliographic index of Queensland doctors and other medical memorabilia.

Many of the instruments which form the nucleus of the collection were brought to Australia in the 19th Century. Of special interest in the collection is a copy of the apparatus used by Wilhelm Roentgen in the discovery of x-rays in 1895. The machine in the Marks-Hirschfeld Museum arrived in Brisbane (with instructions for its use) just one year after those first demonstrations. The Museum collection also includes one of Lord Lister's carbolic spray used for antisepsis during surgery, and several early models of the sphygmograph, invented by Karl von Vierordt in 1855.

The digitalisation of the collection is an extensive project, and consequently, the materials available at this site are no more than a token representation of its holdings which will grow over time. It is envisaged that this virtual collection will increase by several hundred images per annum. As the Museum's bi-annual displays are recorded here, it is hoped that the historical significance of the artefacts residing in the Museum will be made clearer to those interested in items used in medical practice in earlier times.

In view of the limited resources available to the Museum, we are not always able to fully classify some items, while other materials remain to be identified. If you see an item which you can identify or about which you have some knowledge additional to that provided we would welcome your contribution.