The formation of ANZSOM reflects the burgeoning interest in occupational health that developed in Australia in the 50’s and 60’s.
In the 1950's there had been sections of Industrial Medicine in the Victorian and New South Wales Branches of the British Medical Association (later AMA). In 1966, Gilbert Charles, Chief Medical Officer of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority, invited these groups to hold a joint meeting at Cabramurra, at which the possibility of a national body was discussed. Two years later in Canberra, a meeting of over 30 individuals resolved to form the Australian Society of Occupational Medicine (ASOM), with the objectives and rules of the organisation being formalised at a similar meeting the following year.
In 1970 the New South Wales, Victorian and Queensland branches were formed and subsequently Western Australia and South Australia. Between 1970 and 1972 New Zealand physicians had shown great interest in the Australian Society of Occupational Medicine, and at the Scientific Meeting held in Melbourne in 1972 the name of the Society was changed to become The Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine and thus was ANZSOM born.
In 2008, ANZSOM amalgamated with the Australian Occupational Health Nurses Association. 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of a combined Australian and New Zealand Society.
A history of the society penned by Dr Mannie Rathus can be downloaded below. An early history of ANZSOM in New Zealand (1965-1984) has been produced by Dr Bill Glass, which can also be downloaded below.
The History of Occupational Medicine Project is a joint initiative of the RACP (AFOEM) and ANZSOM. The project aims to draw together and build on existing efforts to describe our professional history, especially as the second generation of occupational physicians in Australia and New Zealand are in the process of transitioning to retirement. In this project an archive will be established in the RACP Library.
The archive will feature a timeline listing key events in our heritage and linking to information including documents, images and audio/video histories.
Witness Seminar March 2022 at the ANZSOM ASM
As part of this project, a Witness Seminar was held as part of the ANZSOM ASM and provided an opportunity to ponder the history and future of occupational medicine as we invited members of our professions to recall their place in historical events and the developments in workplace health over the past 50 years.
In 2018 a limited-edition anniversary book was compiled to celebrate 50 years of ANZSOM, using a collection of mementos, reflections and submissions from members past and present. A full copy of the book (pictured left) can be downloaded below.
A big thank you to our members for their contribution to this special anniversary video which gives a glimpse of members' appreciation of their Society. Here's to 50 years and beyond!
Past presidents of ANZSOM
1968 Dr W P Nelson (NSW)
1969-71 Dr W P Nelson (NSW)
1971-73 Dr D R O'Donnell (VIC)
1973-75 Prof D A Ferguson (NSW)
1975-77 Dr W H Denehy (VIC)
1977-79 Dr K J Wilson (SA) 1979-81 Dr S F McCullagh (NSW)
1981-83 Dr J Stoke (NZ)
1983-85 Dr K E Brown (VIC)
1985-87 Dr N W H Ormonde (WA)
1987-89 Prof. C A Mitchell (QLD)
1989-92 Dr G B Hanna (NSW)
1992-94 Dr K S Sleigh (VIC)
1994-96 Dr R J Scott (ACT)
1996-98 Dr J Cross (SA)
1998-2000 Dr Helen Jagger (NSW)
2000-02 Dr Tony Barr (WA)
2002-04 Dr Barry Gilbert (VIC)
2004-06 Dr Chris Walls (NZ)
2006-08 Dr Andrew Newman-Morris (VIC)
2008-10 Dr Virginia Pascall (NSW)
2010-12 Dr Robert McCartney (QLD)
2012-14 Dr Amanda Sillcock (VIC)
2014-2021 Ms Melinda Miller (QLD)
2021- Dr Dominic Yong (VIC)