Catalogue Number: 2060
Photographs of five optometric practices in Melbourne, Victoria
Sub-Category: Photograph Buildings
Photographer: COCKBURN David
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1950
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Melbourne
Description Of Item: Five black and white photogaphs of optometric practices in Melbourne each 107 mm W x 59 mm (image size) with the same size negatives, The practices are (1) a practice in Port Melbourne (?) (2) Coles and Garrard Pty Ltd in Bourke Street near Elizabeth Street (3) E Komesaroff and (4) Dobbie Bros Opticians, and (5) Elliotts Jewellers and Opticians (not pictured. Original negative is on file).
Historical Significance: Advertising by the health professions has long been a social issue since advertising of health services and treatments can mislead, cause unnecssary anxiety about ill-health, promote treatments that are ineffective or bring about over-use of health services. It has been argued that the public should select health providers on earned reputation since this rewards the excellent practitioner rather than the one with the largest or cleverest advertising budget . Medicine imposed restraint in advertising on itself as part of its codes of professional conduct. These rules were later supported by the law governing the practice of medicine (greatly relaxed in the later years of the 20th C under the mantra of de-regulated competition policies). Optometry wished to emulate medicine's restraint in advertising so as to enhance its public standing as a respected and trusted provider of eye health services. In the first half of the 20thC many optometrists voluntarily exercised restraint in advertising in pursuit of this goal. Other optometrists continued to advertise presenting themselves as commercial purveyors of optical products. The profession was divided on this issue. Regulation of advertising by optometrists was hotly debated in Victoria in the 1930s as the profession sought to have an Act of Parliament providing for the registration and regulation of optometrists. When the Act was finally passed in 1935 it did not have any prohibition on advertising by optometrists. The profession remained divided on the issue. The first students of the the new four year university level course in optometry leaned to the professional as opposed commercial model for optometry and were an activist group. David Cockburn was one of these early students, graduating in 1950, and he may have taken these photographs for a student campaign on the advertising issue. Cole and Garrard were at the time the largest optometry firm in Victoria and while dignified in its premises it advertised on radio and newspapers and were not well regarded by younger optometrists who favoured the medical model of practice.
How Acquired: Donated by David Cockburn
Location: Archive office. South wall. Cube 5 Album 3