James Jamieson (1840–1916) was born at Beith, Ayrshire, Scotland and educated at an academy in Glasgow and the University of Glasgow. He was a ship’s doctor and general practitioner in Scotland before emigrating to Australia in 1868. He started a practice in Warrnambool and was the municipality’s health officer. In 1877 he moved to Melbourne. He was honorary physician at the Melbourne Hospital and in 1884 he joined the senior staff of the Alfred Hospital. He was the health officer of the City of Melbourne from 1885 to 1912. He also lectured at the University of Melbourne in obstetrics, diseases of women and children, and the theory and practice of medicine.

Jamieson had been a student of Joseph Lister at Glasgow and was familiar with the ideas of Louis Pasteur. When he came to Australia he promoted germ theory as the cause of infectious diseases and his articles won over professional and popular opinion. He was a founding member of the Australian Health Society and contributed to its lecture program and publications. He was editor of the Australian Medical Journal in 1883–87 and wrote regularly for the leading Melbourne newspapers and journals.


The Jamieson Collection, which formed part of the library of Jamieson, was donated to the Library by Mildred Green in 1970. Dr Green was a grand-daughter of Jamieson.


The Jamieson Collection consists of about 360 titles. It is particularly strong in first editions of English poetry and novels published in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Among them are many works by Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, George Meredith, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson and W.M. Thackeray. Scottish authors represented in the collection include J.M. Barrie, John Brown, Thomas Carlyle, Robert Fergusson, David Masson and Robert Louis Stevenson.


About half of the books in the Jamieson Collection are housed in the Rare Books Collection and the remainder have been integrated in the general collection. They have been catalogued individually. A list of the collection is available.

Related Collection

Other books that formed part of Jamieson’s library are held in Monash University Library in Melbourne.


Dunstan, David, James Jamieson (1840-1916), Australian Dictionary of Biography online