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Fred Hollows eye-testing equipment donated to National Museum

26 September 2012

The National Museum of Australia has received a donation of portable opthalmologist’s equipment used by the late Fred Hollows to restore eyesight for many thousands of people in Australia and overseas.

The donation was made by The Fred Hollows Foundation, which continues his work by supporting almost one million eye operations and treatments in the past five years that have prevented or overcome blindness.

The Fred Hollows collection donated to the National Museum includes a set of trial lenses and trial frames, an ophthalmoscope and the wooden boxes used to transport them and Fred Hollows Foundation promotional literature.

“On 10 February next year it will be 20 years since Fred lost his battle with cancer, so it is wonderful that the National Museum of Australia is putting together a collection of items that will give thousands of visitors an opportunity to learn more about Fred’s life and legacy,” said Fred’s wife Gabi Hollows, the Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation.

“Fred was never one for accolades, I know he would be incredibly proud and honoured that his story was going to be preserved in the National Museum, alongside other iconic Australians,” Gabi Hollows said.

“The National Museum of Australia is very happy to be able to celebrate the on-going legacy of Fred Hollows.  We present the achievement of significant Australians, such as Fred Hollows, through objects that connect our visitors directly with their work and lives. Through this generous donation the importance of Fred Hollows’ work in Australia and overseas, will be appreciated by future generations,” said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

Fred Hollows was born in 1929 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  After training in England and Wales he moved to Australia in 1965 to work at the University of New South Wales. In the late 1960s he treated Gurindji elders in Sydney and later travelled to their country at Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory. Fred said that he saw more eye disease in 150 Gurundji people than he would have seen in 100,000 white Australians in the city.

Fred Hollows died in Sydney in 1993 at the age of 63. He is interred in Bourke, NSW.

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au