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This series consists of photographs of doctors applying for registration as medical practitioners in New South Wales. The photographs were required by the Medical Board of New South Wales from the beginning of 1889 to assist in the future identification of those issued with a licence by the Board.
Signed photographs were to be furnished to the Medical Board’s Secretary prior to the applicant’s appearance in front of the Board. Some photographs contain the photographer’s business details and most photographs are undated.
The photographs are arranged in two sequences. The photographs in boxes 2/715-726 are arranged alphabetically by the applicant’s surname and those in boxes 2/727-762 are arranged numerically by registration number commencing at 1506. These registration numbers can be found in the Register of medical practitioners for New South Wales (NRS15581). It is unclear why the Medical Board used these two systems of arrangement.
The use of photographs for identifying medical practitioners was introduced after a motion was carried by a meeting of the Medical Board on 14 November 1888. The motion called “For the future identification of those who receive the licence to practice from the Medical Board of New South Wales, Each candidate shall be photographed and the picture kept by the Secretary.”(1) There were regular prosecutions of individuals acting as medical practitioners who were not registered and the increased reliability in identifying these individuals would aid in their prosecution. Notification to applicants of the need to include a signed photograph with their application was published on 4 December 1888 in the New South Wales Government Gazette (No.755, p8611).
1. Minutes of the Medical Board of New South Wales, 14 November 1888, State Records reference number NRS9871/1 2/711.
Item Lists available electronically.