1934 – 1943: The Founding Decade

Home 1934 – 1943: The Founding Decade

During this formative decade, the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) was born, setting the stage for a path of advancement, cooperation, and excellence that would profoundly influence Australian anaesthesia.

Australasian Medical Congress

In January 1934, at the British Medical Association (BMA) Congress in Hobart, Dr George Leonard Lillies took charge of the Section of Anaesthesia, orchestrating three sessions dedicated to exploring diverse facets of this burgeoning specialty. This marked a significant acknowledgment of anaesthesia as an independent and vital field, laying the foundation for subsequent pivotal advancements.

Hadley’s Hotel, Hobart, where a small group of seven founded the ASA.


Foundation Meeting at Hadley’s Hotel

On January 19, 1934, after the final anaesthesia session of the BMA Congress, an informal gathering at Hadley’s Hotel in Hobart marked the foundational meeting of the ASA. This meeting brought together seven visionary doctors, shaping the nascent stages of the ASA.

Founders of ASA

The visionary septet, comprising Geoffrey Kaye, Gilbert Brown, Gilbert Troup, Harry Daly, Ivor Hotten, George Lillies, and Cedric Duncombe, not only founded the ASA but also laid the essential groundwork that propelled the ASA towards growth and success.

ASA’s Mission Declaration

On January 20, 1934, the ASA solidified its mission with a Statement of Aims, outlining objectives such as enhancing the status of anaesthesia in Australia, fostering international collaboration, encouraging research, and promoting the publication of anaesthesia-related articles.

The Inaugural Annual General Meeting

The inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the ASA took place in Melbourne from September 16-18 in 1935. Dr Zebulon Mennell from St Thomas’ Hospital, London, graced the event as the first Guest of the Society. This gathering marked a crucial step in the formalisation of the ASA.

Formation of Museum & Library

In 1939, during the third AGM in Melbourne, the ASA turned its attention to preserving its history and knowledge by establishing a Museum and Library. This initiative, led by Gilbert Brown’s Presidential Address, aimed to safeguard the rich heritage and advancements in anaesthesia.

Written and researched by

Dr Richard J Bailey AM

M.B.B.S. ’56. FANZCA (NSW)