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Colin MacKenzie

The Home Front: Australia during the First World War

Colin MacKenzie, surgeon and anatomist

Sir Colin MacKenzie, 1930.
Sir Colin MacKenzie, 1930. National Museum of Australia.

In 1915, Colin MacKenzie travelled to England to further his studies in anatomy and work as a surgeon. There he used his skills in comparative anatomy to develop new techniques for the treatment of war-wounded soldiers.

MacKenzie devoted much of his professional life to building an extensive collection of Australian animal specimens. He considered Australian marsupials and monotremes important, not just as examples of endangered species but also for their potential to offer insights into the treatment of human conditions.


Colin MacKenzie in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

'Stilled lives' by Martha Sear, The Museum, Issue four, September 2013–February 2014

'Collecting for a nation' by Guy Hansen, Captivating and Curious exhibition website

A wet specimen with two labels which both read 'MUSCLES FOREARM. KOALA.'
Koala’s arm, 1920. National Museum of Australia. Collection record. Photo: Jason McCarthy.
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