Pathology Department picture from “Glimpses of the Past”
Pathology services at Mont Park started around August 1968. Initially there was only the post-mortem service and then, towards the end of that year, the rest of the clinical pathology tests previously performed by outside laboratories were introduced.
The laboratory was run by Dr Stanley Weiner who came from Switzerland, though originally from Poland. He had an MBBS and MD from Zurich University and was required to obtain registration from the Victoria Medical Board after coming to Victoria.
As he could not practice medicine until registered, he worked as a senior orderly, a junior assistant nurse, and a laboratory assistant in several Victorian hospitals. He also worked as a bricklayer, locksmith, painter and bottle washer. He was registered in 1956 and became senior lecturer in Pathology at the University of Melbourne after receiving his PhD from there in 1962, for research on electron microscopy of human liver samples.
The Mont Park Pathology Centre serviced all hospitals, drug and alcohol and mental retardation facilities in Macleod/ Bundoora except for the Repatriation Department. The Laboratory also provided Pathology services for Sunbury, Janefield and Pentridge as well as all the New-Born screening for Victoria, and for some other Australian states and Papua and New Guinea.
The MPPC, Mont Park Pathology Centre, with a staff of about 20, in conjunction with the smaller laboratories at Royal Park and Willsmere, provided the following services:
- Comprehensive Laboratory diagnostics and treatment monitoring services for In-Patients and Out-Patients of the Mental Health Department.
- Pathology tests for the Mental Retardation Branch of the Health Department
- Routine investigations and screening for drugs of addiction for the Alcohol, Drugs and Forensic Branch
- Screening of all Victorian newborns to detect hypothyroidism and PKU (phenylketonuria) either of which can lead to mental retardation if left untreated.
- Investigation of the causes of death of all custodial and some voluntary patients
- Educational, survey and research requirements
To provide these services there were seven subsections at Mont Park:
- Isotope laboratories
- Anatomical pathology
- Drug screening
- State screening laboratory for newborns
Dr Weiner and the Centre encouraged all staff to undergo further undergraduate and post-graduate educational training and cooperated with 12 colleges to provide work-experience for young students. Dr Weiner demanded that staff who completed additional training should be rewarded and be upgraded with reclassification; this greatly assisted the high staff morale at the Centre. Extra-curricular activities were encouraged for staff, squash played by some and a glass lead light window inside the MPPC was the work of staff. The gardens in front of the Centre were also taken over by the staff resulting in an Australian native plant display.
The Centre also employed up to 12 university students for 6 weeks every year, preference being given to medical, science and dental students to encourage an in-depth knowledge of the benefits of pathology services for patients.
The Centre staff took strike action in 1986 along with many others at Mont Park, when the Government blocked 600 job vacancies.
Dr Weiner was officially farewelled by staff from Mont Park and Plenty Hospitals in December 1985.
Thanks to Peggy Preston, former Scientist with the Mont Park Pathology Service, for her invaluable contributions to this article.
Diamond Valley News February 25, 1986
Health Victoria, December 1985
Report of the Director of Mental Hygiene Authority Commission of Victoria, 1969 online see https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1969-70No35.pdf
The Melbourne School of Pathology: Phases and Contrasts (1962), Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
Weiner, Stanley. (1962). Electron microscopical studies of liver/with special emphasis on techniques of ultrafine preparations. Ph D. Thesis, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.