Melbourne Femur Collection

The Melbourne Femur Collection is a unique archive of human femoral bone tissue gathered (over the last 20 years) from around 600 individuals who died suddenly and unexpectedly without any major predisposing medical conditions or long periods of immobilisation. The collection also includes post-mortem clinical CT scans, micro-CT image data, and digitised microradiographs of thin sections of the bones.

The initial justification for the collection was for age-at-death determinations in a forensic context but as those responsible have collected more and more material they have come to realise that huge variations in patterns of bone tissue ageing are observed amongst persons of the same chronological age. While age-at-death determination from histomorphometry was not achieved, the serendipitous nature of science has meant that the greatest potential value for the collection is now being realised by studies of age-related bone loss (which may lead to osteoporotic fracture of the hip) and the biomechanics and micro-structure of bone.

The collection was originally hosted on NeCTAR OpenStack SWIFT object storage at VicNode. It contains more than 1.4 million image files, uses about 5.4 Terabytes of storage.  However, there are some access limitations to object storage. Therefore, to improve the accessibility, searchability and data sharing, the collection has been migrated to the DaRIS/Mediaflux bio-medical imaging data management platform operated by VicNode.

The data custodian of the collection can now easily discover approved data requested by researchers and provide it by downloadable shareable links.


After being migrated to DaRIS, the Melbourne Femur Collection has been re-organized by specimen number, image type and other metadata. Compared with the original collection in object storage or local file systems:

  • The data in DaRIS are much better organized and searchable with all duplicates purged
  • The collection in DaRIS uses less storage (Image series are compressed and containerised as a single object)
  • The collection is replicated to a disaster recovery environment
  • The custodian (or others with access)  can view the images via the DaRIS web portal;
  • The custodian can download or share the data with others easily.