Browse Archival Resources

By Repository

Archival Resources Details Bionic Ear Collection [Artefacts]

Collection Title
Bionic Ear Collection [Artefacts]
Museums Victoria
Bionic Ear Collection
Date Range
1968 - 1990

Museums Victoria holds artefacts dealing with the development of the Bionic Ear.

In 1989 archivists at the Australian Science Archives Project embarked on a project to document records about Graeme Clark and the Development of the Bionic Ear on site at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in the ADS database*. In 1994 they produced a draft 'Guide to the Records of Graeme Milbourne Clark and the Development of the Bionic Ear' with a listing, in series order, of the collection. The bulk of the collection described in the database and Guide was transferred to University of Melbourne Archives, while items in 'Series 21 Prototypes and Testing equipment' and a selection of copied material from Series 18 University of Melbourne Central Registry Files (patent applications and related correspondence) went to the Museum of Victoria.

According to Richard Gillespie, there are over 250 artefacts at Museums Victoria "donated by Professor Graeme Clark and the University of Melbourne, documenting the research and prototyping that led to the development of the clinically approved cochlear implant. These include examples of the prototype 'gold box' receiver-stimulators or implants, clinical trial implants, benchtop electronics used to develop both the implant circuitry and the external speech processors. The initial research and safety studies were undertaken with cats as the experimental animals, and the collection includes the animal experimentation box and histological slides to examine the biological impact of the inserted electrodes. Implantation surgery on humans required the development of new surgical techniques; the collection includes surgical instruments developed by Graeme Clark for inserting the electrode array into the inner ear and templates for drilling a bed for the implant in the patient's skull." ['Bionic Ear Collection', Museums Victoria Collections website, URL:, accessed December 2016].

*NOTE: In 2006, the ADS database with the Bionic Ear documentation was upgraded to the HDMS database, and in 2018 this database was accessible at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.

Available for reference