South Australian Medical Heritage Society Inc

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Presidents' Reports


South Australian Medical Heritage Society: President’s Report (2019/2020)

I think that it is fair to say that 2020 has been the most unusual and uncertain year in recent memory. COVID-19 has affected all our lives in at least some way and the economic effects of the infection will linger for several more years. Fortunately, South Australia has largely avoided a major wave of infection and, because of this, limitations on our ability to move and interact with friends and colleagues have gradually been lifted. Our monthly meetings were suspended in March but resumed with modifications in September. In particular, we are only permitted to have 40 people in the Royal Society rooms, refreshments are no longer available and we expect members and friends to adhere to preventative measures such as social distancing. We are conscious that most of our members are elderly and at higher risk for more severe disease.

Despite the above, some good things have happened. As most of you will know, David Close has been taking videos of presentations at our monthly meeting for the past 2 years and these presentations have been made available through email to members and friends. Many have been surprised, not only by the quality of the presentations but by the quality of the videos. We are also working to improve the SAMHS website. Caroline Adams has arranged for a small group of University SA students to review the website and to suggest changes that might make it more attractive and comprehensive. We anticipate that the students will have a report in November. There has been little progress on the possibility of a Health and Medical Museum. However, Wayne Sampson has short-term funding for rooms in King William St to house the Begg collection of dental equipment of historical interest. This collection may be open for public display in History Month, 2021.

Your Committee is aware of on-going discussion about the location of our monthly meetings. Some favour our current location in the Royal Society rooms while others feel that an alternative suburban site would be preferable. This issue is a persistent Agenda item for the Committee but, for the time being, we have decided to remain in the Royal Society rooms. An exception is the Christmas meeting and lunch which will be held at Living Choice in Fullarton in December [lunch on-site at Damien's Restaurant]. We are also looking at the possibility of hosting the conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine [ANZSHM] in Adelaide in 2023. This society has an Australasian conference every second year: the next will be in Newcastle in 2021.

Finally, a special thanks to Joy Copland who has done a remarkable job as secretary to our Society for several years. Joy is the glue that keeps our organization not only together but well-informed. Thanks also to our treasurer, David Buob, and other members of the Committee including David Close, Iain McIntyre, Maggie Boult, Caroline Adams, Michael Kent, Leo Mahar, and Wayne Sampson. Although unable to attend meetings, our Patron, Mr Tony Slavotinek retains an interest in SAMHS activities.

Ian Roberts-Thomson
October 10, 2020.


South Australian Medical Heritage Society: President’s Report (2018/2019)

The year, 2018-9, has been a positive one for the South Australian Medical Heritage Society. Our membership has increased [now 75] and there has also been an increase in the number of attendees at our monthly meetings [40-60 people]. This seems likely to reflect the quality of our speakers and our efforts to encourage our members to stay for drinks and "nibbles" after the meeting.

The aim of the Committee has been to have a mix of presentations, some highlighting the history of medicine in an international context and some highlighting the contribution of doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel to medical history in South Australia or Australia. Two of the most recent presentations, "From moral inferiority to post-traumatic stress disorders" and "The history of vaccines: an Australian perspective" illustrate how presentations can incorporate medical history in Australia into a topic of international importance.

Your Committee has the view that the major focus of SAMHS should be on the quality of the monthly meeting. However, we do have an excursion each year and, for this year, we visited the St. John Ambulance Museum in Unley. We also have a December presentation and Christmas lunch which, in 2018, was held at the National Council for Women building on South Terrace. We are still in negotiation about a suitable venue for 2019.

For some time, there have been discussions about the possibility of a Health and Medical Museum in South Australia. At present, Australia does not have a national museum although there are several small collections, some in South Australia. The Powerhouse museum in Sydney does have a section devoted to medical history but this is mostly old instruments in cabinets. The reality is that a museum open to the public not only needs to be very good but almost certainly needs to incorporate interactive components attractive for both children and adults. The science museum in Canberra, Questacon, is a good example but apparently cost hundreds of millions of dollars. If the SA idea is to proceed, we need support from all the medical history groups as well as a great deal of patience and perseverance.

Continuing the national theme, we do have a national society, The Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine. As well as emails, they have a major meeting every second year and publish a journal, History and Health, twice per year. The next major meeting will be in Auckland in December this year.

Finally, we need to recognize the important contributions of our members. Critical to the success of our society is our efficient, effective and long-suffering secretary, Joy Copland. I would also like to thank our treasurer, David Buob, and other Committee members including Caroline Adams, David Close, Chris Hughes, Michael Kent, Leo Mahar, Iain McIntyre, Wayne Sampson and Tony Slavotinek. Tony Slavotinek and Greg Sampson have been responsible for the website. Drinks and "nibbles”" before and after our meeting have been organized by Audrey Kent and Janice Watson.

Ian Roberts-Thomson
August 2019.


South Australian Medical Heritage Society: President’s Report (2017/2018)

The past year has been busy with a diverse lecture program and significant Committee activity, all of which indicate a dynamic society. Membership has shown a modest increase with a healthy number of guests attending our meetings.

The lecture presentations were outstanding and comprised the 2017 Annual General meeting (Kaye Roberts-Thomson – water fluoridation) and ten General Meetings. By month: September (Alastair MacLennan – Cerebral Palsy), October (Peter Last – Old RAH architectural follies), November (Helen Stagg – Harnessing the River Murray: medical care), December (Jeff Nicholas – Behind the Streets of Adelaide), February 2018 (Peter Kreminski – Otto Nichterlein), March (Annette Summers – Blood Sweat and Fears I & II), April (Graeme McLeay – Climate Change & Health), May (David Buob – Myles Flynn), June (Janet Scott – From hieroglyphics to CADCAM: History of Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgery) and July (Chris Lease – Environmental Sciences & Health).

Dr Kreminski was the inaugural Australian Medical Association Historical Committee's lecturer to SAMHS, and it is intended that this arrangement will continue annually. It is very gratifying, and testament to the high standard of presentations, that attendance at society meetings has averaged 30 persons. Much credit for this also lies with the efficient, hard work of our Secretary Joy Copland.

The Society's finances are in good order under the stewardship of our Treasurer David Buob and our membership fees remain very reasonable.

Tony Slavotinek and our webmaster Greg Sampson have continued to develop the website with improvements to the format and many additions to the content. The webmaster has diligently added lecture presentations to our website. We have met with The History Trust of South Australia to progress work towards establishment of the SAMHS website into the History Trust's web portal. The SAMHS website is now linked to the AMA (SA Branch) Historical Committee website. Website visit numbers have been encouraging and the extra links will increase the society’s public exposure. Unfortunately, an application for a History Trust grant to support a web project on the contributions of Cornish medical practitioners to the colony of South Australia proved to be not funded. SAMHS is now an associated body of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine with the option to establish a future, more formal link.

The Committee has met with Geoff Spiers regarding a Health Museum proposal and Richard McGrath (University of South Australia, Business manager) to explore ways by which SAMHS might participate in the establishment of, preferably, a physical display to augment the existing virtual museum. The Central Adelaide Local Health Network (Old RAH) Heritage Committee currently has a submission before Renewal SA, and SAMHS has representation on the CALHN committee through Tony Slavotinek and myself. It is concerning that a large quantity of valuable heritage material is stored in many locations, including the Hampstead centre, often in less than ideal circumstances.

The Committee has been reviewing the SAMHS Constitution as part of our incorporation responsibilities. Considerable work has been committed to it and it is hoped that the document will soon be ready to place before members for comment.

My sincere thanks go to Committee members and volunteers who enabled SAMHS to mount an exhibition at Z-Ward, Glenside Hospital. Our thanks also go to Geoff Rischbieth and the Pharmacy Guild for their contribution. The exhibition, on 12th May, was part of the History Trust's History Festival. I had the pleasure of being interviewed on ABC Breakfast Radio and several of the (more than) 250 people who attended, had heard it – amazing! In time for the display, SAMHS acquired two banners which provided publicity at Z-Ward and will be used for all SAMHS meetings.

Committee member Michael Kent purchased a new microphone sound system to use at SAMHS meetings because the "permanent loan" arrangement for the previous system proved not to be permanent.

The Society would like to thank Audrey and Michael Kent and Janice Watson for their provision of the "“nibbles" for our general meetings; they are much appreciated.

The annual Field Trip on Sunday 20th May was enjoyed by 20 members, who had lunch at the Middleton tavern where they viewed the small but interesting collection of medical and maritime memorabilia. The excursion proceeded to the National Trust museum at Strathalbyn and we were not disappointed. There was even a genuine Furphy water cart on display!

Very sad news was received in late May, with the passing of our Patron, Professor Donald Simpson. His prodigious intellect and gentlemanly ways will be greatly missed.

As I now conclude my term as President, may I thank the Executive (Joy Copland, David Buob and Ian Roberts-Thomson) and Committee (Chris Hughes, Tony Slavotinek, Michael Kent, Leo Mahar, Iain McIntyre, and Caroline Adams) for their support and friendly guidance over the past three years. It has been a privilege and an honour to be part of the South Australian Medical Heritage Society.

Wayne Sampson,
President, 2017-18


South Australian Medical Heritage Society: President’s Report (2016/2017)

The Society has prospered over the past year with good attendances at the ten General Meetings and a modest growth in membership numbers. The presentations at the monthly meeting have been of high calibre and covered a wide variety of topics which can be accessed on the SAMHS website. Our Society aims to commemorate people and events which have significantly advanced medical practice and health through history. I’m frequently impressed by the contributions South Australians have made in the past and how this knowledge has been kept alive by the energy and dedication of our members.

It has been a Committee decision to change the format of the business at the meetings. Hopefully, members will agree that the business agenda has been favourably streamlined by the summaries produced by our Secretary. Due to the closure of the Adelaide Dental Hospital the Committee meetings are now held in the Medical School South. The Society now has its own laptop computer and we should have a microphone and sound system available for the meetings in the Royal Society Room.

There have been many pleasing happenings over the previous 12 months and Professor Donald Simpson's acceptance of the position of Patron of the Society is a special highlight. The field trip to Torrens Island Quarantine Station provided a most interesting insight into past immigration practices and members enjoyed a lunch at the Railway Hotel in historic Port Adelaide. The Christmas meeting at Keswick Barracks was also well attended. Tony Slavotinek is to be congratulated upon his receipt of the History Council of Australia award presented by the Governor.

With thanks to Tony Slavotinek and Greg Sampson, the SAMHS website has continued to develop and is receiving many visits. Following a meeting with the CEO of the History Trust of South Australia, we expect to have our website included in the History Trust’s web portal which will greatly increase the exposure of our website to the community.

Storage and display of heritage material remains a challenge but there is presently a submission to Renewal SA for the creation of a museum, preferably on the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site. This is an initiative of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network Heritage Committee, upon which the SAMHS has representation, and we would all like to see a Medical and Health museum established in Adelaide.

Many thanks to our Secretary Joy Copland for all of her hard work and organisational skills which have helped make our meetings so successful. David Buob has managed our finances admirably and Tony Slavotinek is the amazing force behind the website. Committee support has been greatly appreciated from Millicent Hughes, Chris Hughes, Caroline Adams, Michael Kent, Ian Roberts-Thomson and Leo Mahar. Also, the refreshments provided by Janice, Michael, and Audrey are highly regarded by all meeting attendees.

Finally, may I express sincere thanks to Millicent Hughes, who will be leaving the Committee after many years of service; in particular, those years devoted to the role of Secretary. Her wisdom will be greatly missed.

Wayne Sampson,
President, SAMHS


South Australian Medical Heritage Society: President’s Report (2015/2016)

The society has continued to flourish from the excellent foundations laid by previous executives and we are most grateful to the immediate past President Dr Chris Hughes and our secretary Dr Millicent Hughes. It has been my great privilege to work with the present committee of Mrs Joy Copland (secretary), Dr David Buob (Treasurer), Mr Tony Slavotinek (Website) and committee members (Dr Chris Hughes, Dr Millicent Hughes, Dr Caroline Adams and Mr Michael Kent). Following the 2016 AGM, we aim to welcome two extra committee members.

Although SAMHS welcomed several new members during this year, we would always encourage interested people to join us. It is very pleasing to note that Dr William Lawson AM was recognized in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The membership has been treated to a variety of exceptional presentations during the year. Our thanks go to the following speakers: Dr Joe Verco, Dr Caroline Adams, Dr Roy Scragg, Mrs Joy Copland, Dr Peter Psaltis, Dr Tony Swain, Dr John Brydon, Mr Robert George, A/Prof James Hawkins, Mr Tony Slavotinek and Dr Robert Goldney. Details of these, and other, presentations can be found on the website.

The 2015 Christmas meeting enabled many members to hear Dr Psaltis speak on the fascinating research being conducted at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and we also enjoyed a tour of the architecturally intriguing building. To complete a thoroughly enjoyable day, refreshments were generously provided at the home of Drs Chris and Millicent Hughes.

The annual historical interest "field trip" was held on 29/5/16 when members visited Z Ward at the Glenside Hospital with the expert guidance of Dr David Buob.

The society's finances are sound enough to enable the Treasurer to maintain fees at a very reasonable $20. However, ongoing expenses such as the hire of the Royal Society room and the refreshments enjoyed at our meetings are significant. Special thanks go to Janice Watson, Michael and Audrey Kent for their dedicated provision of refreshments for our meetings.

The SAMHS website has continued to develop due to the hard work of Mr Tony Slavotinek and our webmaster Greg Sampson. There have been many additions to the website content and the format of the site has been pleasingly upgraded.

Progress on the concept of a Health Museum has been limited despite discussions with Dr Jane Lomax-Smith (Chair, South Australian Museum Board), University of Adelaide archivists and planning group members of the new Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building. The Royal Adelaide Hospital Heritage Committee has been replaced with a committee under the auspices of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) who are also developing a virtual museum. It is hoped that SAMHS will continue to liaise with CALHN and solutions will be found to appropriate exhibition and storage of heritage material which is presently scattered over numerous locations.

The committee is developing an exciting programme for the coming year with a wide range of speakers and topics. The 2016 Christmas meeting will be held at the Keswick Military Museum and we are planning to organize a series of "pop-up" exhibitions for History month in May 2017.

Sincere thanks go to Joy Copland and Tony Slavotinek for their promotion of SAMHS in the form of an article contributed to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies Inc. eNews, August 2016.

Wayne Sampson,
President, SAMHS


President's Report (2014—2015)

The Society has had another successful year and members have enjoyed a series of excellent presentations on a variety of topics.
We have continued to meet each month at the Royal Society Rooms — at no charge for most of the year but latterly at a cost of $22 per session.

In spite of efforts to make the Society and its program more widely known we have had only a modest number of new members (although they have been warmly welcomed). Attendance has only once fallen below 16 and the Christmas meeting was particularly popular with a total of 35 members and guests present.
It is sad to record that Dr. David Game, one of our most regular members died earlier in 2015. An outstanding person, he will be sorely missed.

As in previous years presentations were made by members as well as by visiting speakers. These included Prof. Donald Simpson (Hugh Cairns), Prof. Peter Roberts-Thomson (Aboriginal deaths in Tasmania), Dr. Chris Hughes (Medical Eponyms), and Dr, Tony Slavotinek (Pancreatic Disease). Of the visitors, Dr. Ossie Petrucco spoke of his career from young migrant to an authority on IVF, Dr. Brendon Coventry gave a new perspective on the treatment of malignant disease and Prof. David Grove gave an overview of infestations and infections. Dr. Greg Otto gave a history of laparoscopy, Prof. Glyn Jamieson spoke about various versions of unorthodox medicine and Prof. David Thomas reviewed the transition of biochemical estimations from manual methods to automation. It was at the popular Christmas meeting that Dr. John Setchell gave a comprehensive history of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Our annual program included an enjoyable visit to the historic hospital at the Willows Winery in the Barossa Valley.

We remained grateful to Prof. Wayne Sampson for allowing the committee to meet regularly at the Dental School. He and other committee members – David Buob (Treasurer), Tony Slavotinek, Caroline Adams, Michael Kent, and Joy Copland – have continued to give excellent support to the Secretary and President (Millicent and myself) throughout the year.

Particular thanks are due to a number of individuals: to David Buob for his conscientious work as Treasurer, to Janice Watson and Michael and Audrey Kent for ensuring that members have refreshments at every meeting and by no means least to Tony Slavotinek and Greg Sampson for their ongoing work in maintaining and enlarging the Society's website.
We receive an increasing number of emails from around the world from people who visit and seek benefit from the Virtual Museum.
We understand that negotiations between the RAH Heritage Society and the State Government with regard to a possible Health Museum are continuing but the outcome so far remains uncertain. If such a museum materialises it would certainly receive support from ourselves.

If I can venture a personal opinion, I find the attraction of the Society includes not only the interesting presentations that we hear regularly, but also the enjoyable social interaction between members. The wide membership, not only from many branches of the professional health community, but also from other backgrounds with no direct medical connection is also an attractive feature of the Society.

Plans for 2016 include participation in History Week in May with production of a small appropriate publication.

I am confident that the Society will continue to thrive as Prof. Wayne Sampson takes over the Presidential role and Joy Copland succeeds Millicent as Secretary.

Chris Hughes
President, SAMHS.


President's Report (2013—2014) 

It is pleasing to report that SAMHS has had another successful year.

Meetings have been well supported by members generally and some individuals have again made significant contributions. David Buob has kept the Society's finances in good order, Tony Slavotinek has continued to manage the website (including the Virtual Museum) with the able assistance of Greg Sampson, and Millicent Hughes has fulfilled her secretarial responsibilities with her usual thoroughness. Joy Copland has invariably been available to support speakers needing help with projection of presentations and between them Janice Watson and Michael & Audrey Kent have looked after the refreshments – an essential component of each meeting. We continue to enjoy the hospitality of the Royal Society rooms for our monthly gatherings and we remain indebted to Professor Wayne Sampson for allowing us to use space in the Dental School for regular committee meetings.

As in previous years the programme has covered a wide range of topics with members of the Society making many excellent presentations. We are grateful to Joy Copland, Tony Slavotinek, David Buob, Anthony and Robin Radford and Roy Scragg in that regard. Visiting speakers have included Dr. Toby Coates ("History of Renal Transplantation"), Dr. Colin Twelftree ("Vietnam: 1957 & 2007") and Professor David David ("History & Development of the Cranio-Facial Unit"). The Christmas meeting was held in Port Adelaide at the Maritime Museum where Lindl Lorton and a colleague spoke on the theme of "Life and Death in the Age of Sail".

In spite of the many informative meetings and enjoyable social aspects of SAMHS the Society remains relatively unknown amongst health professionals, colleagues and friends. Perhaps using word of mouth during the coming year we could aim at increasing our mailing list from the low seventies to over 100.

Chris Hughes
President, SAMHS.


President's Report (2012—2013) 

SAMHS has had another interesting and enjoyable year.

In recalling last year's AGM, members may remember Dr. John Smith recounting his personal experiences as a medical officer in Antarctica. Since then we have had a series of interesting speakers and it would be invidious to pick out particular contributors - each of us would have our favourites. One highlight of the year was a visit to Kapunda which included a guided tour of the town, a visit to the Museum (which has an extensive collection of medical memorabilia) and, not least, an enjoyable lunch at the North Kapunda Hotel.

Another notable occasion was Dr. Ross Philpot's contribution on medical aspects of Sherlock Holmes at the Christmas meeting. Whether as a result of the program or coincidentally the pool of members has gradually increased over the 12 months and it is pleasing to note that SAMHS has a membership of increasingly diverse backgrounds as well as people from the health professions.

Thanks are due to a number of individuals. I may be biased but I believe that much of SAMHS's current success is the result of the vision and hard work of Secretary Millicent Hughes. David Buob has managed the finances well so that the Society's books are still well in the black. Tony Slavotinek, with help from Greg Sampson, has progressively increased the content of the Virtual Museum. For some of us the Virtual Museum is unexplored territory but it can be unreservedly recommended as well worth a visit. Janice Watson and subsequently Audrey and Michael Kent deserve our thanks for managing the refreshments at each meeting. Similarly Joy Copland for her expertise in managing the projection facilities. Those mentioned have all contributed as members of the Committee which meets at intervals in the Dental School courtesy of Professor Wayne Sampson (who is also a member of the committee).

It goes without saying that the success of an organisation such as SAMHS ultimately depends on the support and enthusiasm of your selves, the members. Your attendance and suggestions are always valued. I have every confidence that the coming year will be as successful as the year just passed.

Chris Hughes
President, SAMHS.


President's Report (2011—2012) 

SAMHS has enjoyed another successful year.

Thanks to the generosity of the Museum authorities, we have continued to meet free of charge in the Royal Society Rooms at the end of Morgan Thomas Lane (off Kintore Avenue). A bonus has been access to the parking beyond the boom gate - readily available by speaking to security via the receiver at the gate itself – "We are attending a meeting at the Royal Society Rooms".
Attendance at meetings has been slowly increasing over the year and we have been pleased to welcome a number of new members.

At the AGM (2011) Dr. Ral Antic recounted the history and management of TB in S. Australia since settlement. In September 2011, Audrey Kent gave an informative account of the history of the Dispensary at Leeds Infirmary (England), the subject of her PhD. thesis. None of the meetings in the last quarter of 2011 were exactly as planned but nevertheless the substitute speakers gave presentations which maintained the Society’s high standard.

In October David Buob gave an overview of the practice of psychiatry since settlement in S. Australia, including a brief history of Glenside Hospital. The President stood in for the listed speaker at short notice in November, and gave his personal perspective of the advances in medical practice over the past 50 years. The Christmas meeting was again held at the Science Exchange and members and friends enjoyed an account of William Wyatt given by historian Carol Fort, the author of his biography. Refreshments on this occasion were enhanced by a generous gift of wine by the Fox Creek winery.

The Society reconvened in February when Joy Copland reviewed the life & achievements of Frank Fenner – one of SA's most influential sons. Dr. Bill Lawson spoke in March, giving the story of the multi-talented Dr. Richard Rogers – one of the State’s earliest doctors and a noted orchid specialist. The April meeting was an opportunity for Drs. Donald Simpson and Tony Slavotinek to rehearse their presentations for a medical history session of the forthcoming RACS conference. The topics were "Management of Cerebral Abscess" (D.S.) and "The Life of Professor Fraenkel" (T.S.). Professor Peter Roberts-Thomson gave an intriguing account of 30,000 years of the practice of Rheumatology at the May meeting. In June we welcomed Dr. Brian Fotheringham, who took us on an entertaining virtual historical walk around the Women's and Children's Hospital. At the July meeting Professor Wayne Sampson told us of the life and contributions of yet another influential health professional, pioneer orthodontist - Dr. P.R.Begg.

Members are indebted to Janice Watson for ensuring that refreshments were always available to us in the earlier part of the year. And we now grateful to Audrey and Michael Kent who have agreed to take over Janice's role. Our thanks are also due to Millicent Hughes for her conscientious oversight of the program and the minutes. David Buob is acknowledged for managing the accounts and the membership list – many thanks.

The regular presentations continue to be of high standard and of great interest. I believe we owe it to our friends and colleagues in the health professions to invite them to attend one of our meetings and perhaps consider joining the Society.

Dr. Chris Hughes


President's Report (2010—2011) 

The successful progress of SAMHS noted last year has continued to the present.

Thanks to a suggestion made by Professor Suzanne Miller (Director of the SA Museum), rooms of the Royal Society (off Kintore Avenue) have become the regular site for meetings. This more central venue seems to have been popular in that the average attendance of members and guests over the past 12 months has been 15 or more.

Professor Henneberg’s paper on Medical Aspects of Pompeii at the AGM in June last year was well received. Members Tony Slavotinek, Michael Patkin and Bob Cooter brought us up to date with their particular interests at the meeting in July – the last to be held at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Society members enjoyed Graham Truman’s account of Paediatric Radiology in a meeting held at the W&CH in August and we returned to the Royal Society rooms in September to hear Dr. Chris Verco’s account of the Military Hospital on Lemnos in WW1. An instructive and enjoyable visit to the Military Museum at Keswick Barracks was hosted by Reservist Barry Willoughby.

A highlight of the year was the Society’s first award of Life Membership to Professor Donald Simpson. This followed a scholarly paper by Professor Simpson on the Pineal Gland. The Christmas meeting held at the Science Exchange was one of the most popular in recent years with Mr. Tony Elliott of Elliott’s Funerals giving an intriguing talk about "The Body on the Beach".

In February Dr. Bob Cooter spoke about his recently published book on Medical Work in Ceduna. At the March meeting the opportunity was taken by Drs. Slavotinek and Patkin to present their respective papers on "Professor Jepson" and "The Virtual Museum" prior to giving them in Perth. A similar opportunity was taken at the April meeting by Mr. Donald Beard ("3 Military Crosses in the Family") and Professor Donald Simpson ("Sir Leonard Lindon").

Meetings in May, June and July were all enjoyable and well attended with Dr. John Rice giving a history of the Bionic Ear, Dr. John McIntyre summarising changes in 50 years of Dentistry and Mr. Robert Laidlaw from The Bunyip recounting aspects of the volatile career of Dr.William Home Popham – an early practitioner in Gawler.

On a wider front, the outlook for historical artefacts from Glenside Hospital remains uncertain in spite of a meeting, led by David Buob, with officials from Arts SA and History SA. At a recent committee meeting Dr. Peter Hetzel was invited to share his thoughts and uncertainties on the possible future of medical memorabilia currently held at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Sincere thanks are offered to Professor Wayne Sampson for continuing to provide facilities in the Dental School for regular Committee Meetings. Many thanks also to Janice Watson who regularly produces refreshments for us all at general meetings. Tony Slavotinek, Michael Patkin and Heidi Ing have continued to devlop and improve the Website/Virtual Museum for the Society - Thanks again! Finally SAMHS is indebted to David Buob for keeping a watchful eye on the Society’s finances and to Millicent Hughes for her continuing diligence as Secretary and Program Director.


President's Report (2009—2010) 

The past 12 months have been encouraging for SAMHS. There have been eight general meetings with speakers and topics which have been uniformly excellent and interesting. Unless otherwise noted the meetings have been held at the Dept. of Surgery, QEH.

In July 2009 at the Repatriation Hospital, David Ennis introduced us to the many items of interest in the RGH museum. In September Dr. Robert Cooter gave an account of the life and work of Dr. Phoebe Chapple (partly in preparation for his delivery of a paper on the same topic at the forthcoming Medical History Conference in Perth). In December the Society met at the Surgical Conference Room at the RAH to hear Professor Glyn Jamieson speak on the topic of Science and the Gullible Society. The program resumed in February with a comprehensive history of Cataract Surgery given by Dr. Colin Moore. In March we were particularly fortunate to have Professor Suzanne Miller, Director of the S.A.Museum, speak on Creating Collections (especially of a medical nature). One of our own members Dr. Joan Durdin described the History of Nursing Training in S. Australia at the meeting in April and in May Dr. Fiona Khor gave an account of the development of Chemotherapy since the early concepts of Ehrlich.

The Committee has also met regularly but changed its venue from the Glenside Hospital Boardroom to a more comfortable room at the Dental Hospital by courtesy of Professor Wayne Sampson. While SAMHS remains grateful to the Dept. of Surgery at the QEH for continuing to host our general meetings the question of a more central location (preferably with parking) and the question of the optimal time for meetings remain open for discussion.

Behind the scenes Michael Patkin and Tony Slavotinek continue the good work initiated by themselves and Bernard Vaughan. They continue to document items of interest for inclusion on the website and at the same time have upgraded the quality and linkages of the website itself. An approach to the AMA(SA) requesting inclusion of some of their memorabilia on the SAMHS website was successful after some initial negotiation. The question of establishing a Medical History Trail for Adelaide remains on the agenda but would still require considerable work and probably some outside sponsorship for it to become a reality.

A negative aspect of the year was the failed initiative to retain the Heritage-listed cottages at Glenside in their original state.

In the wider sphere SAMHS has now joined the ANZ History of Medicine Society as a corporate member and we look forward to benefiting from this association.

We look forward to the coming year with confidence and enthusiasm.

C.R.T. Hughes.
President SAMHS.


Presidents Report (2008—2009) 

The last year was important for the Society. The history week exhibits contained contributions from most of the Hospital Museums in Adelaide. The RAH, QEH, WCH, Glenside and  the “Repat”  Museum all provided exhibits. In addition Pauline Payne, Dr.Belinda Coyte, Professor Simpson,

Dr. Joan Durdin,  Dr. W Fuller  and Mr. Tom Stevenson exhibited their historical items. The attendance exceeded 90 but no one guessed the mystery prize (an unusual surgical crushing clamp)

Our management meeting venue is in doubt. The South Australian Government has proposed a  redevelopment  program for Glenside Campus. Unfortunately the Museum of the Glenside Historical Society and the seminar room where we meet has to cede its area to the Film Corporation early this year. The History Trust  and the Government Archives have kindly agreed to store important documents and  items from the collection but the remaining items will need to go to temporary storage.

David Buob and myself have met with Margaret Anderson from the History Trust and Joanne Mc Quinn from the Premier’s major planning office. There was considerable goodwill but the final resolution is still pending. The Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has visited the site and was impressed but the temporary storage site for the remaining items is still in doubt.

We had six presentations last year. R. Cooter talked about “Air Doctors of SA, Alvis Jaunzems described the history and advances in light and electron microscopy, Michael  Patkin and Linda Wurful talked about the real and virtual museums, Robert George talked about Bragg’s role in the development of X-rays in SA and Professor Goldney about the history of the Glenside Hospital.

Last week Professor Sampson talked about the early days of dentistry in SA. and showed a film about Robert Norman who made Corporal Cole’s hand and founded Normanville.

Our original web-site with the Department of Surgery at TQEH is still active and is changed regularly. The current presentation involves  R. A. Fisher the famed statistician who died in Adelaide and the Atago Refactometer. It can be reached by “http://www.health.adelaide.edu.au/surgery/society/gallery.html

However recently Michael Patkin a retired surgeon, ergonomist and a computer enthusiast has joined us and trans-scribed our CD’s onto the Society Web-page at “samhs.org.au”.We hope to launch the site at the forthcoming History Week. The web-site has most of our 150 medical history items from SA and more than 500  photographs

The Society has twelve new members and its funds exceed  $1500.` Our friendly relations with the Pauline Payne, President of the Science Innovation and Technology Group continue and we propose to have a combined meeting on May 9 2009. We will participate in the forthcoming History Week. In addition to the usual exhibits we hope to launch our new web-site and also conduct tours around the historic sites of Glenside.

So far he Society has reached this stage but it is important that it continues to advance, To reach the next stage a new president and a new secretary are needed. At the next annual meeting the president and the secretary will resign and new nominations will be called for. the vacancies.

Finally I would like to thank the secretary, treasurer, and the members of the management group for their help, advice and support.

Tony Slavotinek  4.5.2009


President’s Report 2008

The last year was quite eventful. We have had 5 presentations in 2007 and one this year. At the Repatriation Hospital Dr. Peter Last talked about the hospital and the retuned servicemen. Dr. Richard Brock told us about Howard Florey and penicillin at the Florey clinic in Prospect and Mr. Tom Stevenson recounted the history and advances in Orthopaedic surgery  in South Australia at the QEH. At the Pharmaceutical Society Dr. Robert Cooter described the discovery of amoebas in the Port Augusta water supply and its role in controlling amoebic meningitis. Finally Dr. Toby Coates used powerpoint to demonstrate  history and  the role QEH played in renal dialysis and transplantation.

Our friendly relations with Dr. Pauline Payne of the Science, Ideas and Technology Group continue. We attend each others meetings and plan to have a combined meeting towards the end of this year.

The attempts to obtain a suitable area for storage and exhibits continue. David Buob wrote to the Premier and Professor Simpson contacted Dr. Miller the Director of the Museum of SA. The replies were helpful and contained several suggestions but it seems that history currently takes second place to social issues and most musea have their own storage problems.   We are waiting for developments involving the future of the Glenside Hospital and the translocation of the RAH.  Last year's participation in the History week was well attended and had favourable reviews.

We are sad to miss our Secretary, Trevor White and Dr. John Couper –Smartt. Trevor is involved with the Cheltenham project and the preservation of the Brocas Museum. John is writing his third book. Dr.Colin Suchting has kindly agreed to become our Secretary and Prof .Wayne Sampson has replaced John on the management group.

We continue to record and photograph significant items of medical heritage. The bound records occupy 134 pages and more than 400 colour photographs. The most recent (2008) additions deal with the history of hearing aids, (Mr. Andrew Durovka) Histology apparatus and microscopes in 1950ies (Linda Wurfel and Dr. Lynette Moore) and Dr Begg”s contribution to Orthodontics.(Prof. Wayne Sampson).

Finally I would like to thank the secretary Colin Suchting , the treasurer  David Boub and the management group for their support. We are also grateful to Professor  Maddern and Sandra Ireland who allow us to use Department of Surgery’s web-site. (http://www.health.adelaide.edu.au/surgery/society/gallery.html) 

Tony Slavotinek


President’s Report: 2007

The Society is now entering its third year with a new management group. We have been able to establish a web site with the help of Professor Maddern at the University of Adelaide Department of Surgery at the QEH. It has the president’s report and a photo-gallery which is now in its third edition.. Its most recent photographs show Corporal Coles’ hand prosthesis, foreign bodies removed from children’s  gullets and lungs by Dr. Matison and a Tesla coil apparatus.

Dr.Sally Stephenson has joined us as a consultant and attends our meetings. Her recent review of Hospital Heritage items is  thorough and most valuable. She is also arranging an important meeting to discuss  the future aims of the Society in June.
Our meetings continue.  So far this year  we visited the Women and Children’s Hospital, (Dr. Fotheringham and Graham Truman) and the Florey clinic (Dr. Richard Brock)  The history of ACH and the exploits of Florey, Fleming and Chain were the themes. . The presentations were informative and enjoyable. 

The next two presentations will deal with the history of the Repatriation General Hospital ( Dr. Peter Last, July 19 ) and Mr Tom Stevenson (History of Orthopaedics in SA in August) We intend to discuss the role of dialysis in SA sometime in October.

Professor Wayne Sampson  has joined our Society. And will provide important contribution from the Faculty of Dentistry.  We have also formed  a friendly cooperation with Pauline Payne, the President of the Science, Innovation and Technology Group. We distribute our notices and attend each other meetings.

After three years it is conventional for the President and other members of the management team to give an opportunity  for others to take a role in the Society. It is hoped that  this will be discussed at this annual general meeting or at the seminar arranged by Sally Stephenson.

The Society continues to gather information about important heritage items and significant events in the medical history of SA. We now have records of  over 150 such items and  their photographs.
The need of a temporary storage  facility and a site for educational exhibits is an urgent priority..

Tony Slavotinek


Presidents report: 2006

The May annual general meting was during the SA. History Week and the Society held an exhibit of heritage items at the Glenside Hospital. It was well attended and the numerous exhibits were provided by temporary loans from the metropolitan hospitals and from private collectors. We are grateful to the RAH, TQEH, Glenside, Calvary, Women and Children Hospitals and The Australian Neurosurgical Society. Drs. Couper-Smartt,  Belinda Coyte and W. Fuller. exhibited items from their collections.

Representatives of the Society also visited the Jamestown Museum to photograph the Both Iron Lung and Port Augusta Hospital which has a considerable collection of 19th and 20th century instruments including a chloroform anaesthetic machine. It is planned to obtain an oral history from Dr. John Thompson a prominent GP. Surgeon there.

Dr. Richard Bowering allowed us to photograph many items of his private collection. Don Burge a retired pharmacist donated several pharmacopoeias (1932) and prescription books and Dr. Lamb from the Crafter Medical Centre kindly donated medical scales used by Dr. A.H. Gault In early 1900. Dr. Peter Last allowed us to photograph Dr. H.R.F.Esau’s electromagnetic Machine and provided information about Corporal Coles’s hand. Philip Keane allowed us to photograph it. Visit to Geoff Miller of the Australian Pharmaceutical Society provided valuable information about the Medical Museum in Perth.

The two recent general meetings were held at The Calvary hospital and at The South Australian Museum. Our host at Calvary was Terry Omond OAM and Mr. Paul McClarrin spoke to us about the history and process  of glass eye manufacture. At the SA. Museum Mark Pharaoh told us about the Mawson expedition and showed us Mawson’s medical kit and first aid appliances.

Dr. Sally Stephenson  joined us recently as a consultant. She will provide valuable help in cataloguing and identifying important medical heritage items scattered through South Australian Hospitals and museums.

The Department of Surgery at TQEH kindly allowed us to use their web site to insert information about the Society and a “photo gallery”.

Finally Dr. R.Cooter, SA representative of the ANZ Society of History of Medicine, suggested a possible formation of a SA branch. We communicated with Dr. J. Godden. The ANZSHM holds national biennial and other conferences,  publishes a peer reviewed  Journal : “Health and History” and a regular newsletter. The ANZSHM has proposed that an annual per capita  rebate of 10 Dollars may be returned to our Society if it becomes a branch. Enrolment forms contain information about the web site, subscription fees and other activities. They will be available at our next general meeting.  

Tony Slavotinek 


 President’s Report 22.5.2005

The aim of the report is to outline the activities of the South Australian Medical Heritage Society for the past year and to acknowledge the cooperation and help of its numerous members.

The Museum idea has been temporarily suspended. Our current and more realistic aim is to seek a storage and display area. The former need only to be adequate and not necessarily co-located. It is intended to use the latter to display important activities in the development of medicine in South Australia. Themes such as the role of the Both Industries in the development of medical apparatus, the Fauldings company’s influence on the drug industry and its relation with the Braggs in developing SA radiology are important. Further topics such as Traeger and flying doctor radio, histories of individual SA hospitals or prominent medical persons  and their role in medical  progress are all topics worthy of individual and educational exhibits.

Our other aim, to establish a list of important SA medical heritage items has progressed well and we now have records of over 60 items of heritage importance. The lists record their structure, ownership, function and location. A good example is the current display during the History Trust week. The items are on loan from most of the major Adelaide Hospitals and from several private collectors. They reflect the good will and cooperation of these persons and Institutions. This will no doubt continue in the future and provide a basis for further exhibits.

The Society has also received several important donations. Among others they include the first Both electrocardiograph (1936), one of the first gastroscopes (1960) and the surgical instruments of Sir Leonard Lindon. We are grateful to Professor Donald Simpson who helped with the donation.

In addition to the monthly meetings of the management group, the Society held four general meetings. The first was a tour of the Keswick Military Museum. Our hosts were Colonels Swen Kuusk and Peter Byrne. At  the Calvary Hospital. Dr. W Fuller  talked about the history of Anaesthesia and  Terry Omond showed us the museum.
Dr. Brian Fotheringham was our next host at St John Ambulance building in Unley, where Mr. Donald Beard talked about the life Sir Henry Simpson Newland. and showed us some of Sir Henry’s instruments. Finally the Department of Surgery at TQEH and Robyn Johnson provided the venue for our last meeting. Diane Gall talked about the history of the Fauldings Company and showed us their product samples and early photographs.

We have met with The Hon. Lea Stevens at the Parliament House. She is happy to continue as our Patron and valuable mentor.

A small group of us visited Mr. Bert Causby a retired Both technician, Torrence Island,  Fauldings Library at Mayne Pharmaceuticals. Other visits were to Rose Wilson the archivist of the RAH  Medical Heritage and History Society, who is loaning items to this exhibit and Paul McLarin a Churchill scholar and the last glass eye maker in Australia. He showed us how glass eyes are made.

Dr. John Couper-Smartt kindly designed a logo for our letterhead and developed a computer program for recording our acquired and listed items. Mr. Graham Truman was most generous with his advice about the development of Radiology in South Australia and has loaned us several items, (two tables) from his collection at the WCH Hospital for the exhibit.  Dr. Brian Fothringham allowed us to photograph current and historical (1878) splints and body charts of St. John Ambulance. We saw Dr. Belinda Coyte’s collection  and  traced the Traeger radios at Alice Springs, Twin Stations and Port Augusta.

Dr. W. McLarty  kindly provided us with the relevant articles about the lives of Mr. Douglas McKay and Dr. Charles  Swann and donated a prototype glass eye to the Society.

John Heath kindly allowed us to use his articles documenting the Max Dreissig skeleton, the Both news paper articles and the life histories of  SA’s Greats: “The men and women of the North Terrace plaques.”  Kate Walsh and her team at the History Trust were most helpful and provided us with suggestions for our listing and acquisition policies.

They also published an article “ The Overview of Medical Collections in Adelaide” in this February edition of History Matters. The administration of the Glenside campus and Chris Sexton provided us with the venue and staff for the current exhibit and possibly future meetings.

The current theme, the documentation of the history and manufacture of nursing uniforms in SA, is nearing completion. Again the kind cooperation of prominent nurses at several Hospitals is most helpful. Our thanks are to Joan Durdin, Mary Slogget,  Mary Collins and Rose Wilson with helpful suggestions, criticism and photo opportunities.

I believe that the future of this Society depends on the strong support of the archivists and curators of the various medical museums in Adelaide and country SA. The items in the current exhibit reflect their good will, cooperation and bide well for the future.
My final thanks are to the past president, David Boub and our secretary Trevor White Their help, guidance and advice are invaluable.

Tony Slavotinek