AMA Victoria

Our history

AMA Victoria's rich history showcases the vital role doctors have played in shaping Victoria's healthcare. Pioneering medical professionals, under challenging circumstances, not only provided exceptional patient care but also led public health reforms, advocating for essentials like safe water and improved sanitation. The formation of the Port Phillip Medical Association, a precursor to AMA Victoria, marked a significant step in uniting the medical community.  This enduring commitment to medical excellence, education, and advocacy continues to drive AMA Victoria, as we uphold our mission to advance healthcare for all Victorians.


AMA Victoria Heritage and Archives Committee

AMA Victoria holds an extensive archives collection, dating back to its earliest years of establishment in the mid-19th century. 

The AMA Victoria Heritage and Archives Committee was established in 2009 to oversee the Archives Management Program and associated projects. The archives currently held by AMA Victoria include records created by officers and staff of AMA Victoria, and records received from members, government officers, other organisations and members of the public.

More information is available on the history of AMA Victoria.  Contact AMA Victoria to be connected with members of the Committee.


The end of divisions of General Practice and a consequent reduction of General Practice representation on Council. 



  • Campaign for the opening of more public hospital beds and the reduction of waiting times for out-patient appointments.


  • The purchase of iPads for doctors in training.


  • Public health campaigns against tobacco and for immunisation.


  • H1N1 Swine Flu panic


  • New Constitution – reduction of metropolitan geographic subdivisions, a new salaried doctors subdivision and the introduction of AMA fellows representatives.


Campaign which stopped the closure of Monash Medical Centre’s paediatric out-patients.



New Enterprise bargaining agreement for doctors in training. 



Advanced Medical Directives introduced.



New Doctors in Training Award – “a fair day's work, for a fair day's pay”.



  • Introduction of Tort Law reform regarding medical indemnity.


  • Campaign exposing mental health service under-funding.


  • Opposition to bonding of medical students linked to their future work placement.


  • Solution to the medical indemnity crisis.


  • Safe hours campaign for doctors in training (DITs)


  • Start of the relative value study.


  • Support for nurses in their campaign for a better career structure and nurse/patient ratios.


  • Formation of a Medical Indemnity Taskforce


  • New privacy legislation, especially applied to patient histories.


  • AMA Aged Care Summit: “The future of Aged Care 2008 and beyond”


  • Highlighting environment issues and their impact on health.


  • AMA National Conference held in Melbourne.


  • Medical indemnity crisis.


  • Introduction of Victorian Doctors' Health Program (VDHP).


  • Introduction of GST and its effects on some aspects of medical practice.


  • Formation of a Drugs Working Party.


  • Production of an AMA Accreditation for General Practice Manual.


  • Support for aged care reform.


  • AMA Victoria Council of General Practice – Dr Haikerwal inaugural Chair.


  • Successful campaign to stop the proposed Werribee toxic waste dump.


  • Opposition to the introduction of Northern Territory style euthanasia.


  • Problems due to budgetary constraints at the privatised LaTrobe Regional Hospital.


  • A New Medical Practice Act.


  • A simplified billing model as a counter to US style Managed Care.


  • Change of name to AMA Victoria Ltd (not a branch).


  • Minor changes to Constitution.


  • Lawrence legislation – campaign against the threat of Managed Care.


  • Improved billing arrangements for private hospital episodes – informed financial consent.


  • Privatisation of public hospitals – LaTrobe Regional Hospital.


  • Problems with public hospital health care networks


  • Campaigns against passive smoking, poor food handling and problem gambling


  • Regionalisation of General Practice Training


  • Accreditation of General Practices
  • Threat of Managed Care by Private Hospital Insurance Funds.


  • Competition Policy (ACCC) – effects on the medical profession.


  • Training of students and certainty of places for doctors in training in public hospitals.


  • Compulsory professional indemnity insurance.


  • Childhood immunisation as a prerequisite for school entry.


  • General Practice National Summit


  • Introduction of Public Hospital Health Care Networks

  • The Australian Medical Association Victoria Limited was incorporated.


  • Quit campaign – A summit of year 10 students.


  • Campaign against privatisation of public hospitals and out-patient clinics.


  • Lochtenberg Enquiry – terms of engagement of doctors in public hospitals.


  • Health Summit regarding public hospital restructuring.


  • Reorganisation of Council, including representatives for academic organisations, professional organisations and general members (now known as independent members), and federal council. Continuing representation for geographic subdivisions, doctors in training and medical students.


On 1 January the Australian Medical Association commenced operation. The Victorian branch of the British Medical Association became a branch of the AMA.


The Federal Committee of the BMA is formed.


The Victorian Branch of the BMA and the Medical Society of Victoria amalgamate, largely through the influence of Harry B. Allen (later Sir Harry Allen), Professor of Pathology at the University of Melbourne.


"Duly qualified medical women" are eligible as members of the Victorian branch of the british Medical Society


The first Intercolonial Medical Congress is held. It is the first time that doctors from around Australia assemble to discuss matters of mutual interest.


Dr Louis Henry returns from England with the authority from the British Medical Association (BMA) to establish Australian branches. On 25 September the Victorian Branch is established with 30 foundation members.


The first medical school is established at Melbourne University.


The first Medical Act is passed.


The Victorian Medical Association is formed by some of the former members of the Port Phillip Medical Association. Dr David Wilkie, who had been active in the affairs of the Port Phillip Medical Association, was elected President. While some of the details of the Association’s constitution differed from the Port Phillip Medical Association, the principles were basically the same.


The Victorian Medical Association merges with the Medico-Chirurgical Society to become the Medical Society of Victoria. Steps are taken to publish The Australian Medical Journal. The Association also actively pushes for the registration of medical practitioners.

The Association is dissolved after a series of quarrels between members.


Dr David John Thomas was among the first in Australia to administer an anaesthetic, used in the amputation of a forearm.


On May 16, the first meeting of the Port Phillip Medical Association is held.


The first roll of legally qualified medical practitioners of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales contained the names of seven physicians and five surgeons.


The first public hospital is opened after a group of clergymen make a successful appeal for subscriptions. The 20-bed hospital was located in Melbourne’s Bourke Street, between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets. It also had an outpatients’ department. It was staffed by four doctors, Dr Wilkie (inaugural President of the Victorian Medical Association), Dr Thomas, Dr Myers and Dr O’Mullane, who worked on an honorary basis.


Melbourne’s second doctor – Alexander Thomas – arrives to take up the position of Government Medical Officer at a salary of 200 pounds per annum. He resigns a couple of months later to take up land near Geelong. He is replaced briefly by Dr Cotter, and then by a Sydney military surgeon, Dr Patrick Cussen.


Barry Cotter, an Irish doctor, delivers the first European baby to be born in Melbourne. Barry Cotter was one of Victoria’s earliest settlers. He became the community’s first doctor.


George Bass, a surgeon in H.M.S. Reliance, is the first European doctor to set foot on what we now know as Victorian soil. A brass mural commemorating this event is located at AMA House in Parkville. George Bass accompanied Flinders when Tasmania was first circumnavigated, revealing that Van Diemen’s land was separated from the mainland.