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Victorian College of Pharmacy

Known until the mid-1930s as the Melbourne College of Pharmacy, the Victorian College of Pharmacy (VCP) was formally established by the Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria (PSV) at 360 Swanston Street in 1884. In 1878 representatives of the society, concerned about the want of approved pharmacy training courses, unsuccessfully approached the University of Melbourne before establishing their own school. Training began in 1881 when Society founder John Kruse conducted classes at the Industrial and Technological Museum. Privately maintained and dependent on student fees for operating costs, the VCP was essentially a part-time commitment for most staff and all students until 1960 when the apprenticeship system was replaced by a three-year full-time course, extended to four in 1997. After 1885 the VCP also provided pharmacy training for medical and dental students. Although the relationship between university and college was fraught with tension, the university continued to send students to VCP until the early 1970s, after which a college lecturer went to the students.

Nigel Manning, appointed Dean in 1963, oversaw major change, fostering the industrial links that had assisted the move to Parkville, improving academics' salaries and working conditions and competing for the research talent which has since endowed the college with its high international repute. Demand for degree status for VCP graduates intensified as Victorians sought parity with qualifications offered in other States. Affiliation with the new Victoria Institute of Colleges in 1966 drew the VCP into the State's education funding mainstream. Empowered to award the B.Pharm, the college held its first graduation on 5 June 1968. It also established a graduate school, introducing masters' degrees in 1970 and doctorates provided initially through the innovative Inter-search program - a co-operative student and staff exchange venture with the University of Kansas, from 1973.

After the discontinuance of the Victoria Institute of Colleges from July 1980, degrees were offered as VCP awards (first ceremony 5 May 1981). Unable to stand alone after the tertiary education reforms of the late 1980s, the college merged with Monash University from 1 July 1992. Retaining its identity as the Victorian College of Pharmacy, it has faculty status within the University and pays tribute in the form of rent at commercial rates to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (Victorian Branch).

Ann M. Mitchell

Feehan, H. Victor, Bond and link: Pharmacy organisations and education in Victoria, Australia 1857-1977, Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria, Melbourne, 1978. Details
Feehan, H. Victor, Birth of the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Melbourne, 1981. Details