Development of the Secretariat
To ensure equal representation of all Australian States, the Society's office bearers are elected from different States and Annual General Meetings held alternately in different States. For many years the Society's address depended on that of the Honorary Federal Secretary who would conduct the Society's business from his/her office or home. A changeover in office-bearers literally meant records changed hands, often in a suitcase, at the end of an Annual General Meeting. It seemed therefore inevitable that many of the Society's early records were lost. While doing research for the ASA History, Dr Gwen Wilson was able to fill many of the gaps in the Minute Books with copies of old reports and minutes retyped from old personal copies. These copies are included unsigned in the Minute Books. A number of early reports, newsletters, membeship applications, letters, etc can be found in the Faculty of Anaesthetists, RACS, Archives.
In 1951 the ASA found a permanent home for the first time. Dr G. Kaye, then the Honorary Librarian and Museum Curator, had purchased premises in 49 Mathoura Road, Toorak, Melbourne which he leased to the Society against a nominal charge. Dr Kaye had also been Honorary Secretary of the ASA from 1934 to 1946. He had enormous interest in the Society's development and had hoped Mathoura Road would become a centre of activities for the Society. His hopes were disappointed and in 1955 the agreement between the ASA and Dr Kaye was terminated.
The Library and Museum were moved to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the 1955 minutes record the ASA decision to ask the College whether they would accept Library and Museum as a donation.
When the ASA vacated Mathoura Road, the Society's records were not transferred to the Secretary but into the custody of a former Victorian Chairman. Years later they were culled and everything but the newsletters and original minutes destroyed. Office functions of the Honorary Federal Secretary were manifold. Correspondence with members, the Executive and outside bodies on matters of interest, society matters, organisation of memoranda, newsletters, meetings and other matters relating to the Society. Over the years the tasks increased due to higher numbers in membership and growing interest in medico-political aspects as well as scientific problems. The way the Secretariat operated however, stayed very much the same. Finally in 1970 the Executive Committee decided to establish a permanent Secretariat and to employ a full-time secretary.
A private practice group of anaesthetists offered space at their premises for use by the ASA in 86 Elizabeth Bay Road, Sydney. The employment of a full-time secretary proved important for the ASA. Correspondence, reports and other records were professionally looked after and what had been established as secretarial assistance for the Federal Secretary had become accepted as a central Secretariat by all members.
All routine matters were carried out by the Executive Secretary and all work of the Federal Secretary passed through the office. In 1972 the Annual General Meeting moved to establish the Secretariat permanently in Sydney instead of the State of origin of the Federal Secretary. The Society now only had a permanent Secretariat but also a permanent address.
1972 also saw the first publication of the Society's scientific journal, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. Over the years the Executive Secretary was to become more and more involved in administration and editing of the journal.
An increase in workload and the need for more space led to the purchase of a building and in April 1980 the Society moved into its new Headquarters in 50 Gurner Street, Paddington, in Sydney. The Headquarters were officially opened during the AGM in Sydney in October the same year.
The 1980s also brought computerisation to the office. Computer hardware was installed in the office in 1983 and software in January 1984.
Further expansion through increased services to members, planning and organisation of meetings, publication of the journal, establishment of sub-committees and medico-political demands led to space becoming a problem again. 1985 saw the purchase of new premises in Edgecliff. The Society moved into its new and current Headquarters in 1985 and had its official opening in March 1986. Since that time the Headquarters have continued to grow, now incorporating three suites of offices and housing modern board room facilities, the Harry Daly Museum and the Richard Bailey Library.