38 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (Veterinary College)

“The most important relic of veterinary science in Australia, being the first veterinary training college opened to students by W T Kendall in 1888, in connection with the veterinary hospital which he had established a year or two earlier, specialising in horses and dogs. The institution continued as a private college until taken over by Melbourne University in 1908, and as a veterinary clinic and hospital until 1920 when it moved next door. The interior (when last accessible) was substantially intact with its timber-framed basilican cross-section with clerestory lighting, the forges and farrier’s equipment remained in place at the rear. The facade is also intact with its signwriting in relief (partly obscured by boards) and horse’s head over the entrance .” (National Trust Database)

The horses head over the front however may not be original given in the later photos it had been removed while a furniture store.

Google Image – December 2020

“The college, which was established in 1888 by the present principal Mr. W. T. Kendall, M.R.C.V.S, and affords and example of a nationally-important institution being brought to a successful issue on its own intrinsic merits, whilst others of a similar character have been fostered by the Government. The college is situated on Brunswick-street, Fitzroy and comprises a large two story brick building occupying a depth of 200 feet, and containing a lecture hall, library, chemical laboratory, dispensary, students’ room, hospital, farriery and offices. The hospital communicates with the main street by a spacious entrance and contains accomodation for 60 patients, being constructed under special sanitary arrangements and fitted up with baths, operating stocks and all modern appliances. On one side are loose boxes for medical cases, and on the other specially constructed stalls for surgical cases, the space between forming a large tan covered yard for exercising ground operations & co., the whole of which is roofed in. On the upper floor, in addition to museum, lecture hall and dissecting room, are 20 well appointed kennels for canine patients, which receive a large share of attention. The hospital records show that during the 10 years of its existence upwards of 6000 patients have been treated within its walls, whilst an almost equal number have been visited by Mr Kendall and his assistants. The course of instruction for students intending to qualify extends over a period of four years, and the sessional year is divided into two terms of four months each. Each candidate for the diploma must during his academical course pass three examinations. The teaching staff is composed of gentlemen, each of whom is a specialist. Examiners are appointed by the Veterinary Board of Victoria, and when it is stated that such names as those of Baron von Mueller, Drs. Cresswell, Springthorpe and Mullen and the late Cosmo Newbery and Mr C R Blackett, together with some of the leading veterinary surgeons in the colony, are amongst the examiners, it will be at once seen that a high standard of efficiency has to be attained before a candidate can pass the ordeal. Graduates of the college have already obtained some good Government appointments and good positions in private practice, which reflects credit on the training received.” The Leader Newspaper, 8 February 1896

Image from The Leader Newspaper, 8 February 1896

W T Kendell, MRCVS

The Cyclopedia of Victoria, actually quotes the college as being established in 1887, in accordance with the Veterinary Surgeons Act of Victoria, though it may not have opened until the following year. Mr Kendell, the founder was born in the lakes district, Lancashire, England, in 1851 and educated there. At 19 years he entered the Royal Veterinary College, London, and by “downright application to study, coupled with an intense love for his profession, he succeeded in gaining his diploma in 1873, and was awarded the diploma as honorary associate in 1892 for original work. Mr Kendall arrived in Victoria in 1880, and started practice in Melbourne, where he established the first Veterinary Association in the colony. In 1881 he was appointed co-editor of the ‘Victorian Veterinary Journal’, during his connection with which he published a book on ‘The Diseases of Australian Horses’ in 1884. He was instrumental in procuring the appointment of a Royal Commission to enquire into the prevalence of tuberculosis in cattle. On the completion of the enquiry, Mr Kendall used his best endeavours to induce the Government to establish a veterinary college on public lines and also approached the City Council on the same subject, but without success. In 1887 he purchased the present site.” The building had 45 feet on Brunswick St and 300 feet to Young Street and was two stories. Mr Kendall was also interested in military matters and held the position of Veterinary Surgeon to the Victorian Cavalry Corps. He married in England nad has a family of five sons and one daughter. Two of his sons are qualified veterinary surgeon and a third was finishing his qualification in 1903-1905. Kendell also held positions with the Veterinary Board of Victoria, Zoological and Acclimatisation Society, Society for the Protection of Animals, the Royal and other Agricultural Societies, the Victorian Poultry and Kennel Club and Agricultural and Public Health Departments. (The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903-1905, Vol 2, p. 219).

National Trust Database – circa early 1970s?
Image held by Fitzroy Library. 1978

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