Catalogue Number: 2674
Circular to Victorian optometrists sent by the Optometrical Students Society on the matter of recognition of British optometrical qualifications and an associated letter from the Australian College of Optometry
Sub-Category: Letter, notes, memos
Author: BLIZZARD, Raymond
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1950
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Melbourne
Publisher/Manufacturer: Raymond Blizzard, Secretary of the Optometrical Students Society
Description Of Item: Four A4 sheets being (1) a photocopy of a typewritten circular sent by the Optometrical Students Society of the Australian College of Optometry to Victorian Optometrists and (2) a copy of a letter from H. Friend, Secretary of the College sent on behalf of the College Council to the student society advising that the student circular contains errors and directing the students, under threat of disciplinary action, to send another circular letter to Victorian optometrists, to be approved by the College Council, correcting the errors. The circular is over the hand of Raymond Blizzard, Secretary of the Student Society and is undated. The College letter is dated October 24th, 1950.
Historical Significance: The Australian College of Optometry was founded in 1940 to provide a four-year full time optometry course taught in part by the University of Melbourne. It was the first full-time four-year optometry course in Australia. At the time registration of optometrists was under State legislation and the State registration board determined by regulation the qualifications that would be recognised for registration. The British qualifications were recognised in 1936 when registration of optometrists was first required at law. The British optometry courses were part-time and were preparation for the examinations offered by the British Optical Association and Spectacle Makers Company for the Fellowships of those associations. The courses did not become three-year full time until 1949 and did not become degree courses until 1964. The students of the Australian College of Optometry in 1950 were undertaking a four-year course mostly taught at university level. They felt that the British courses were not of this standard even when the Registration Board proposed to recognise only the honours level of the Fellowship of the British Optical Association. David Cockburn had established the Optometrical Students Society in August 1948 with his fellow student and friend Derek Gardiner and was its inaugural president, with Gardiner as secretary. In the profile of David Cockburn (Clin Exp Optom 2003; 86: 57-62) it is reported 'The Students' Society wrote a letter to optometrists on this matter and did so using the College address. The College council objected to their partisan participation in professional politics and the unauthorised use of the college's address, threatened expulsion of the student leaders from the course and directed that the Students' Society send a retraction. The students then quickly drank their surplus funds so they could say they did not have the financial means to send the retraction, which indeed was never sent.' The FBOA Hons qualification continued to recognised.
How Acquired: Donated by Raymond Blizzard, member of the College
Date Acquired: August 2015
Condition: Photocopy only
Location: Archive office. Pamphlet and ephemera filing cabinet. Drawer 6