About the Collection

The Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology is Australia's largest collection of human tissue specimens. Dating from the Victorian era, it has been continuously in use for teaching and research. In addition to tissue specimens, the collection includes ancient Egyptian mummified remains, animal skeletons, collections of rare European anatomical models constructed from wax, plaster and papier mâché, the death masks of Australian bushrangers Ned Kelly and Dan Morgan, and examples of the rare pathologies sirenomelia (mermaid syndrome) and fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

Tramond wax models

Maison Tramond, of Paris, produced some of the most exquisite and accurate anatomical models of the late 19th and early 20th century. Many of their preparations are real human bones with wax anatomy sculpted over the top.

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Auzoux papier mâché models

Papier mâché was an ideal medium for producing accurate affordable anatomical models in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of the papier mâché models in the Harry Brookes Allen Museum were produced by Louis Thomas Jerôme Auzoux (1797–1880), a French anatomist and physician.

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Steger/His plaster models

Plaster was another convenient medium for anatomical models in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of the plaster models in the Harry Brookes Allen Museum were the result of a partnership between sculptor Franz Josef Steger (1845–1938) and embryologist Wilhelm His (1831–1904).

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Wax Moulages

Historic moulages are wax replications of disease or injuries for use in medical training. Most of the moulages in in the Harry Brookes Allen Museum were produced by a local dermatologist, Herman Lawrence (1863–1936) who worked at St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.

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Death masks

Death masks are casts made of a person's head after death. In the 19th century they were popular for illustrating the principles of the pseudoscience of phrenology - the idea that the physical shape of the skull could predict personality traits. By studying the heads of infamous criminals - like Ned Kelly - phrenologists thought they could find a physiological basis for criminal tendencies.

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Casts

Corrosion casts are created by pouring a liquid resin into an organ and filling the networks inside. After the resin sets, the tissue is destroyed, revealing the intricate internal structure of the organ.

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