Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Wooden dentist instrument cabinet owned by Len Uren


Wooden dentist instrument cabinet owned by Len Uren

Object information

Physical description

A wooden portable dentistry cabinet with a lift up lid, metal trunk handle and a brass escutcheon on the front. The cabinetry includes dovetail joins to the main cabinet and drawers and brass hooks lock the lid closed at the sides. A metal plate screwed into a void that allows for the smooth movement of the latches. The top of the cabinet lid opens up that has a leather storage flap that drops down when opened. There are six graduated drawers with a wooden knob on five. The top compartment and drawers are filled with tools, paper notes, false and real human teeth, instruments and accessories. There is a darker stained area to the corner of the right side of the lid and the sixth drawer is missing the knob.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises a number of objects belonging to Leonard Sydney Uren (1894-1984), a member of the First Australian Imperial Force during World War 1, and later a well-respected dentist based in Penrith, NSW between the 1920s and 1970s. The collection includes personal correspondence, photographs, ephemera and memorabilia relating to the professional and personal aspects of Uren's wartime service, and lends insight into the acquisition of skills which would support his later career. All objects in this collection survive in a good state of conservation.

The 'Len Uren collection' allows for an exploration of the experiences of Australian servicemen during the 1915 Gallipoli landings and on the Western Front during World War 1. This collection illustrates the personal tragedies of war, as well as the professional opportunities offered by the AIF which shaped the lives of ex-servicemen. This collection offers access into the social and labour history of World War 1, and the transformation of professional dentistry in Australia during the early to mid twentieth-century.

Object information

Back to top