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Port Phillip Minute Book - a piece of history you can own

166 years ago the tradition of medical associations was founded in the form of the Port Phillip Medical Association (PPMA). AMA Victoria is now proud to make available to its members an historic replication of the minutes that record that foundation.

The original Minute Book of the PPMA is the most treasured document in our archives. Three years ago it was painstakingly restored and its pages photographed. Since then, a team of dedicated volunteers, Dr Walter Heale, Dr Peter Lowe and Associate Professor John Hart, has transcribed the contents and compiled a detailed and absorbing history of the Association.

Established in 1846, the PPMA pre-dated both the British and American Medical Associations and was the forerunner of the Victorian Medical Association, the Medico Chirurgical Society and the Medical Society of Victoria. The Minute Book covers the period from the PPMA’s inception to its disbanding in 1851 (some of its members reformed six months later as the Victorian Medical Association). The minutes provide a fascinating insight on the thoughts and concerns of our medical pioneers and many of the issues they addressed – quality of care, medical ethics, education, billing and so on – still echo today. These early practitioners, despite their isolation, kept abreast of developments in medical practice, and there is an account of an early demonstration of the use of ether as an anaesthetic.

Recognising that the copperplate script and the idiosyncrasies of 19th century English at times present challenges for the reader, the contents have been fully ‘translated’ and are provided on CD alongside the digital replication of the Minute Book.

The third component of this fascinating package is the history of the PPMA. It details the historical context of the Association, a summary of its activities over the five years it existed and biographical notes on its founding members.

The final product is a tribute to the many volunteers who have contributed to the project’s completion.

The digital replication of the original Minute Book, its transcription and the history of the PPMA are now being made available to all members of AMA Victoria and will certainly be a valuable addition to the bookshelves of everyone with an interest in the medical profession and its history.

The complete package is available to members at the special introductory price of $24.50 (incl. GST). To order your copy please contact AMA Victoria on (03) 9280 8722 (Orders will be filled in February 2013).

The project is proudly supported by Victorian Medical Insurance Agency Ltd, and AMA Victoria thanks Professor James Best and the Agency for their enthusiasm and encouragement.

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