History of the museum

Harry Daly Museum

Dr Harry Daly was a founder of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA), as well as its President from 1946-1947. An anaesthetist with a passion for preserving the history of the profession, Dr Daly established the Museum’s collection during the 1950s. Donations from many other doctors and hospitals helped to shape and expand the collection, which, in the early years, was housed in several different locations including:

In the early 1990s, the building housing the collection at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital was due for demolition. A new home for the collection was urgently sought and the Australian Society of Anaesthetists agreed to assume management.

For many years, limited space was available at the ASA head office, which restricted the museum display to just a few special items in the then combined library/museum. However, in 2005 the ASA acquired an adjacent office unit, enabling dedicated space for both the library and museum. Custom-made display cabinets and glass-topped drawers were installed and the Harry Daly Museum opened their exhibits to the public in early 2008.

In October 2013 we moved to new premises in North Sydney and the new exhibition opened in July 2015.


The Harry Daly Museum, Richard Bailey Library and Gwen Wilson Archives are located at the ASA head office and are under the guidance of the History and Research Unit HARU (previously HALMA – the History of Anaesthesia Library, Museum and Archives). Formed in June 1996, HALMA serves as a steering committee for these three historical facilities, dealing with broad management policies and organisational structure. The Committee meets four times a year to address relevant issues and to expand the services provided by the Museum, Library and Archives.

The Museum is in managed by the Curator.