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History of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care

Australian Society of Anaesthetists

When Dr Geoffrey Kaye gathered together six like-minded colleagues to found the Australian Society of Anaesthetists in 1934, one of the stated aims was to establish a journal. Kaye established a series of Anaesthetic Numbers in the Medical Journal of Australia and later, infrequent memoranda developed into the Newsletter of the society. This Newsletter contained some articles of a scientific nature, almost all written by Kaye himself. Most Australian anaesthetists preferred to send their scientific articles to established overseas journals in order to receive greater exposure and recognition. The Newsletter was rightly regarded as a carrier of Society news and developments in anaesthesia, rather than a scientific communication.


During World War II, many Australian medical graduates were deployed overseas in the defence forces, including Kaye himself. Communications within the Society virtually ceased during those years and no scientific congress was held. At the Annual General Meeting of the Society in Perth, Western Australia, in April 1954, the question of an Australian journal of anaesthetics was raised again. However, there was so much disagreement among members that the Victorians went to the extent of holding a postal referendum within the state, which resulted in the overwhelming opinion that the project was premature. The proposal was abandoned in 1955.

Dr Benedict Barry

In 1969 Dr Benedict Barry was appointed Honorary Federal Secretary of the Society. Barry had for many years favoured the establishment of a journal and had, in his quiet determined way, put in much of the groundwork, promoting the idea among members and accurately assessing costs with quotes from printers and publishers. The motion put to the Executive Committee in May 1971 was passed unanimously. Barry was appointed founding Editor, with an Editorial Board of 12 members. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care was established with Volume 1, Number 1 appearing in August 1972. At first the Journal was published quarterly and in 1993 it became a bimonthly publication. Ben Barry continued as Editor for 10 years. Brian Horan followed, then John Roberts, Alan Duncan and in 2009 Neville Gibbs was appointed Chief Editor.