Historical information

The Furgusson stethoscope was in use from 1866. It is made all in one piece and has no attachments.


Mary Howlett (1840-1922) began practising as a country midwife in 1866 in the western district of Victoria. She qualified as a 'ladies monthly nurse' in 1887 and continued to practise as a nurse and midwife until 1920. She began her six months training at the Melbourne Lying-In Hospital. She was known by many as 'Auntie', and her career spanned more than 50 years. Mrs Howlett's midwifery box and contents were given to Dr Frank Forster, and he donated them to the museum collection in 1993.

Physical description

Fetal stethoscope consisting of an ebony tube with flanges at each end. The large flange would be placed onto the abdomen and the small flange would be placed to the ear to hear the fetal heart beat.