Harry Daly Museum

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Welcome to the Harry Daly Museum

Welcome to the Harry Daly Museum, where we delve into the fascinating history of anaesthesia and the revolutionary advancements that have transformed patient care. Our extensive collection of rare anaesthetic equipment and drugs offers a captivating glimpse into the evolution of pain management and patient safety.

Featuring over 2,000 items, our exhibits showcase the incredible progress made in the field of anaesthesia, which has revolutionised healthcare outcomes. From tiny needles to ether and a range of sophisticated anaesthetic machines, our displays tell the incredible stories of the unsung heroes of medicine – anaesthetists – and their tireless quest to alleviate pain and manage consciousness in patients. Come explore the fascinating world of anaesthesia with us at the Harry Daly Museum.

Plan Your Visit

We welcome visitors to the Harry Daly Museum, free of charge. To ensure that we can accommodate your visit, appointments must be made in advance by contacting the curator at curator@asa.org.au.

Our operating hours are Monday to Wednesday, 10am-4pm. Our museum is conveniently located at 86 Chandos Street, Naremburn 2065, just a short walk from St Leonard’s station.

Explore Further

Take a deep dive into the world of anaesthesia through our range of exhibits and resources, including:

The Harry Daly Museum collection reflects the development of Australian anaesthetic practice from the 1840s to the present. It currently consists of around 2000 objects. These objects range from the earliest ether inhalers of the 1840s, through improvisations in WWI, to further developments in engineering design and pharmaceuticals today.

Visit our eHive site to search and explore our collection online. Help us to fill in the gaps and improve our understanding of our collection by adding information about specific objects through the ‘comments’ fields. Or ask a question and our Curator will get back to you.

As a medical speciality, anaesthesiology has developed since 400 BCE when poppies and other plants were first used for pain relief. The greatest advances, however, have occurred since the 1840’s with the major advances in pharmacology, physiology and monitoring made since then. This detailed Timeline, which is keyword searchable, will help readers understand the evolution and complexities of the practice of anaesthesiology.

In order to produce the Timeline, Dr Reg Cammack has gleaned and collated these snippets of historical information from multiple sources in published literature, not only for his own interest but also in the hope of piquing the interest of our members in researching further the development of our specialty. He aims to produce updates and additions several times each year.

View the Latest Additions to the History of Anaesthesia Timeline

This document contains additional and updated entries. Lines with a yellow background are updates of previous entries, with red text representing the new information. Lines with either a white or coloured background are completely new listings.

Download a Complete History of Anaesthesia Timeline

History of Anaesthesia Timeline

Since 3600BCE humans have experimented with methods and materials leading to our current understanding of anaesthesia.

Revisit us in 2018 to explore our interactive timeline.

In the meantime please explore our document timeline developed by our Honorary Historian Dr Reg Cammack who has gleaned and collated these snippets of information from numerous sources in the world’s literature. It contains a word search facility to help if you are looking for a specific topic. By necessity, the notes are not meant to be comprehensive but are designed to stimulate the reader to research in more detail any topic that may be of interest. The timeline is an ongoing project and is added to several times a year.

To explore the most recent additions only click here. Sections highlighted in yellow indicate items in the timeline that have been updated. Sections highlighted in white and blue are new additions to the timeline.

Events and Open Days

Welcome to History Week 2023 OR Visit the Harry Daly Museum during History Week

Join us to explore the history of anaesthesia, featuring a range of voices from the past

Discover the history of anaesthesia during a curator-led tour of the Harry Daly Museum. Explore the development of anaesthetic drugs and how this speciality helped improve medical outcomes for all.

Date and time: 11:00am Wednesday 6 September 2023

Contact us for more information: curator@asa.org.au

Explore the development of anaesthesia and how this speciality helped improve medical outcomes for all.

Discover the history of anaesthesia during a curator-led tour of the Harry Daly Museum and special talks including medicine at war, surgery before anaesthesia and more.

Date and time: 12:00am - 2:00pm Saturday 9 September 2023

Contact us for more information: curator@asa.org.au

Learn more about History Week 2023 here

Support and Donate

Our collection is primarily sourced from donations made by our members as they retire, upgrade their equipment and practices, or as anaesthetic departments are improved. Our collection development policy ensures that donated items meet specific criteria. To find out more or to donate an item, please email curator@asa.org.au.

As a museum with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status granted by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), we welcome and appreciate your financial support. To make a tax-deductible donation, please email curator@asa.org.au.

Contact Us

Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10am-4pm (AEDT) by appointment
Location: 86 Chandos Street, Naremburn, NSW 2065
Ph: 02 8556 9700 / 1800 806 654
Email: curator@asa.org.au