RANZCO Eye Museum



Oral Archives Of New Zealand Ophthalmologists



The Ophthalmological Society of New Zealand commissioned oral recordings from seven senior ophthalmologists between approximately 1991 and 2001. Each was professionally interviewed by Anna Cottrell (wife of Dr Paul Herrick, ophthalmologist of Wellington), on behalf of the Alexander Turnbull Library, a division of the National Library of New Zealand.

The ophthalmologists interviewed were: Sir Randal Elliott of Wellington, Dr Roy Holmes of Christchurch, Professor John Parr of Dunedin, Dr Dorothy Potter CBE of Masterton, Dr Calvin Ring of Auckland, Dr Arthur Talbot of New Plymouth, and Dr Graeme Talbot OBE of Auckland.


All are now deceased.


These recordings are irreplaceable, detailed records of their lives and careers. Each is of around two hours’ duration. They are first-hand accounts of aspects of New Zealand ophthalmology through most of the twentieth century. There are many insights into the education, training, the Otago Medical School, and the post-graduate ophthalmic training in their times, as well as practising the specialty in that era. In some cases, their war service is of special interest. The interview which holds the most general interest is probably that given by Sir Randal Elliott, while the interview with Professor John Parr gives the most information about education and the Otago Medical School.

Histories And Services

  • A History of RANZCO

    The history of RANZCO from its inception by Margaret Dunn. Milestones, personalities and structure. RANZCO celebrated 50 years in 2019. Read the book here.

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  • Barbara McKay’s Memories Of Ophthalmic Nursing

    Barbara McKay recounts her experience of being an ophthalmic nurse in the 1950s. I commenced my Nursing Training in 1953 at Repatriation General Hospital Concord, at that time caring for serving members, veterans of both...

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  • Al Mckay’s Cataract Surgery Recollections

    Al Mckay recalls his experiences with early cataract surgery. My first surgical encounter with ophthalmology was in 1959; I was a medical officer at a tiny hospital in southern Tasmania, actually I had been born...

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  • Mark Gardner

    Mark Gardner - A Lifetime Of Service To The Old "Eye & Ear" Mark Gardner graduated MB, BS, at Melbourne University in 1909, and after two years as Resident at the Childrens and Melbourne Hospitals...

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  • JEK Galbraith -History Of Retinal Surgery

    The Retina Unit was set up by the late Professor Gerard Crock in 1963. When I joined him a year later as his First Assistant, my first job was to review the results of retina...

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Video Interviews

Museum Video

Alex Harper traces the remarkable evolution of intravitreal agents for macular degeneration.

Museum Video

Barbara McKay recalls her experiences as an ophthalmic nurse in the 1950’s.

Museum Video

Bruce Crawford recounts difficulties with early cataract surgery.

Museum Video

Dick Galbraith set up a multi-country aid project in the Pacific and recalls some experiences and characters in the Solomon Islands.

Museum Video

Ernie Finklestein recalls life as a trainee in the 1950’s and notable characters he worked for.

Museum Video

Hugh Taylor was involved in the National Trachoma Program from its inception and had a close relationship with Fred Hollows. He describes the beginnings of the program and its subsequent evolution.

Museum Video

Wilson Heriot worked with the key players in the evolution of vitreo-retinal surgery and traces the development of the procedures during his professional career.