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Leitz Wetzlar dissecting light monocular microscope


Leitz Wetzlar dissecting light monocular microscope

Object information


This microscope was used in the Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine. The institute was established in Townsville in northern Queensland in 1910, and was the first medical research institute in Australia. It opened in a small, three-roomed wooden building behind the Townsville hospital. In its first 10 years the institute's staff investigated diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and yaws, surveyed the health of Aboriginal communities and taught tropical medicine.
Austrian-born Anton Breinl arrived from London to take up the directorship, bringing with him books and equipment, probably including this microscope, to fit out the laboratory.
By 1913, a new building had been constructed, and Breinl and his assistant John Fielding were joined by entomologist Frank Taylor, biochemist William Young, parasitologist William Nicoll and bacteriologist Henry Priestly.
The institute's young staff became leaders in their fields, studying diseases in Australia, Papua New Guinea and neighbouring islands. They treated patients, mapped disease patterns, and collected and identified new infection-carrying parasites and insects. Some of these were named after institute staff, including Breinlia trichosuri and Rhabdiopoeus taylori.

Between 1910 and 1930, more than 90 staff and visiting scholars worked at the institute. They published hundreds of research papers, articles and books on subjects from mental health to nutrition and parasitic infections, as studied in the particular conditions of Australia's tropical north and neighbouring Papua New Guinea. The institute was involved in numerous international research programs, including the Hookworm Control Campaign, a joint effort between the Rockefeller Foundation, the institute and the Queensland government health authorities.
In 1930, the institute was relocated to the University of Sydney, despite arguments that it should remain close to its subject of study. Over 50 years later, James Cook University re-established the institute in Townsville. Today, the institute, renamed the Anton Breinl Centre, studies and teaches about public health problems in tropical Australia and its near neighbours, with a special focus on rural and regional Indigenous communities.

Physical description

A Leitz Wetzlar dissecting light monocular microscope within a wooden box. The box contains the microscope fitted with an eyepiece, two separate lenses and two metal handrests. There is also a silver key.

Object information

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