Hoping to undertake future study myself in Melbourne, Australia, I was drawn to researching the University’s historical links with the territory of Victoria.
Researching students born in Victoria between the years of 1884-1913 for my project, it soon became apparent that the majority of the 17 students all came to Glasgow to study Medicine. One medical graduate of particular interest is Isabella Henrietta Younger who first came to the University in 1911 to continue her medical studies, which she had started two years previously at Melbourne University. For this reason, Younger was only required to study for three years at Glasgow before being able to graduate in 1914. It is Younger’s contribution to society upon graduating that make her a particularly interesting graduate to have researched. Unlike the other medical students researched, Younger did not immediately go into a general practice.
Having gained her initial experience in attending to some of the poorest members of the Scottish population in the ‘slums’ of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Younger soon found her life-long area of interest and expertise in child and maternal health. Upon her return to Melbourne in 1917, she was instrumental in the establishment of the first mother and child clinic in Victoria. Younger also had two books published on the subject: Feeding the Child-All Ages and The Happy Mother and Child.
While some Victoria-born students returned to Australia, many remained in Scotland, contributing to the Scottish community. Many of these students gave their hometowns within the West of Scotland, and would have been the children of Scottish ancestors.
One of them was John Aloysius McConnochie, MB ChB 1913. He was the son of another Glasgow medical graduate, James McConnochie. McConnochie ‘jnr’ did the reverse of his father’s trip, when he remained in Glasgow as a general practitioner. This decision may have also have been influenced by the war years. Shortly after his graduation, in 1916, McConnochie volunteered to serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps, demonstrating a strong national consciousness in reaction to the Scottish War Effort.
Although this is only a small proportion of students from Victoria, it has been rewarding to have discovered the integral role that the students have played in communities that they may have considered either as being at home or abroad – or perhaps both.
McConnochie and Younger’s biographies are published in full on the International Story for Australia. There is also a page dedicated to Younger and her work on the Australian Dictionary of Biography website.
By Gillian Vevers, MA History.