Catalogue Number: 2521
History of the Victorian College of Optometry (Prologue)
Sub-Category: Letter, notes, memos
Author: MORRIS Geoffrey G
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: c 1990
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Melbourne
Description Of Item: Two A4 sheets typescript headed 'HISTORY OF THE VICTORIAN COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY Prologue' and signed off at the bottom of the text 'JSC - Written by Mr Geoffrey G Morris'. Two copies: the second in a different typeface and is 3 pages.
Historical Significance: This is an account of the recollections of a Melbourne optometrist, Geoffrey Morris (Pictured Photo May 23 1990), who was a member of the Victorian College of Optometry. He obtained his FVOA in 1941. He served as President of the Victorian Optical Association (1975-1978) and made an honorary life member of the VOA in 1980. He was a councillor of the Australian College of Optometry 1947 to 1955. This document have been his notes of an address he gave at the dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ACO. See Catalogue No 1252. It was typed by Jean S Colledge (JSC) then the Secretary of the College. It describes early optometric education in Victoria when the Victorian Optical Association (VOA) ran a part-time evening course for qualification to become a Fellow of the Association. It also remarks on the foundation of the Australian College of Optometry in 1940 (called the Victorian College of Optometry from 1960 to 2008 and reverted to its original name in 2009). Fellows of the VOA were entitled to use the suffix FVOA, and it was a recognised qualification for registration to practice optometry when the Opticians Act 1935 was enacted. The typescript is headed 'prologue' because this Fellowship course led to the foundation of the Victorian College of Optometry. Key information in the recollections are: VOA founded 1911 with a goal of improving optometric education; membership required three years in the optical industry and passing an examination in optics and refraction of the eye; library started in 1912; a course established with the Pharmacy College; course fell into decline during World War 1 but recommenced 1918; Howard S Bell was an important figure in optometric education in Victoria until his untimely death in 1942; the first year of the course was at the Pharmacy College and second year at the VOA office at 191 Collins Street; Cyril W Kett was appointed lecturer and clinic demonstrator in 1920 and HS Bell, HS Latimer and JG Cumberland became lecturers reducing dependence on non-optometrist lecturers; in 1923 the VOA College Education Committee was formed with Cumberland as Chair and members Brown, Challen, Latimer, Bell and Kett; Two year course continued; entrance standard was raised to intermediate (Year 10) in 1923 although students without this qualification were still admitted; course became 3 years part-time in 1928 and the Auditorium Building in Collins Street became the venue; in 1931 it was arranged for the Melbourne Technical College to provide lectures in physics; Optometrists R Hogan and WE Owens became involved to improve the clinic; course extended to 4 years part-time (date?); in 1933 Kurrajong House at 177 Collins Street became the premises for the VOA and the FVOA course; in 1938 the Melbourne Technical College took over the course; in August 1938 Ernest Jabara, became chairman of the VOA College Education Committee, presented a proposal for a stand-alone College and in November he proposed it be called the Australian College of Optometry. NOTE ON BUILDINGS USED BY THE VICTORIAN OPTICAL ASSOCIATION AND AUSTRALIAN COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY. From 1913 the FVOA course was part taught at the Pharmacy College 360 Swanston Street (County Court Building) and at the office of the VOA at 191 Collins Street Melbourne until 1928 when the VOA moved to the Auditorium Buildings 167-171 Collins Street (Built 1913). Then from 1931 the course was part taught at the Working Men's College (later known as the Melbourne Technical College, then RMIT and then RMIT University). In 1933 the VOA and its FVOA 'College' then moved to Kurrajong House 177 Collins Street. When the Australian College of Optometry started in 1940 it took over these premises although the VOA still had its meetings in the lecture room of the ACO but did not have its name on the door. See Kett CW. The first twenty-one years of the Victorian Optical Association. Aust J Optom 1932; 15: 31-39 for another source of this early history.
How Acquired: Record of VCO
Location: Archive office. Pamphlet and ephemera filing cabinet. Drawer 6