Appreciating our heritage:

your Fellows Room

Posted by Karen Myers, Curator, on July 31, 2023

When visiting Sydney, all members are welcome to visit the College to experience its heritage at 145 Macquarie St. Some members of the College may not be aware however, that they have an exclusive domain in the Fellows Room which they can enjoy while in the city.

As you step into the College you will be immediately struck by the sense of heritage and tradition that permeates 145 Macquarie St. The Fellows Room is the first door on the right as you enter. Come and experience and enjoy its graciousness - it is an exclusive space reserved for members.

The Fellows Room was originally the Reception Room and later the Office Bearer's Room of the College, providing office space for staff. In more recent years it became the Fellows Room with an elegant fit-out and amenities for all members to enjoy. Coffee, tea and internet access are all provided for the convenience of members.

On entering the Room, visitors will be immediately impressed by the grandeur of its architecture. The architect Clive Lucas restored the room to its original gracious proportions in the mid 1990's. High ceilings adorned with intricate mouldings and large windows offering views across to the Botanical Gardens, all contribute to the sense of space and style.

The Room is steeped in history, with portraits of the most recent past Presidents as well as the first President, Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn. Comfortable leather armchairs and sofas, a marble fireplace and wooden bookshelves beckon visitors to immerse themselves in the gracious atmosphere of yesteryear which pervades the space. While the College continues to embrace modernity in medical advancements the Fellows Room remains a testament to its commitment to preserving its rich history as well as an acknowledgement of all who have gone before. The sense of legacy instilled by this beautiful space serves as an inspiration to future generations of physicians.

In an era dominated by virtual communications, the Fellows Room offers a space for the meeting of colleagues and face to face interaction. While the title of 'Fellow' may invoke exclusivity, the College is committed to inclusivity and diversity and the embracing of present and future challenges, all with an eye to the importance of preserving its heritage.

While enjoying the space you will be able to appreciate the Sidney Nolan artwork 'Queensland Port' and peruse part of the important historic book collection held in two glass door cabinets. One cabinet holds the various versions of the 'Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales' by Surgeon John White, who came with the First Fleet in 1788. Many of these books date back centuries and trace earlier physician's work.

A large exhibition case in the centre of the Room features rotating exhibits, most recently the '100 years of insulin in Australia' display.

This November, the College is excited to be part of the Open Sydney program when it will open up to the public for one day of tours and exhibitions. This will be an opportunity to showcase its rich collections and hidden treasures, including the first edition of Charles Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species.'