Surgery in Australia and New Zealand

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons was established in 1927, and the first meeting of the College Council was held in Dunedin, New Zealand. Detailed information can be obtained from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons website. Free access is provided to a digital version of The Mantle of Surgery: the first seventy-five years of the Royal Australasian College of Surgery by A.W. Beasley, and hardbound copies can also be purchased.

Photo of the College founders

The founders of the College. (Source)

The history of the College is well described in the following articles from the ANZ Journal of Surgery:

Julian Ormond Smith has provided a definitive account of the foundation of the College and the progress that was made during the initial years (Julian Ormond Smith. The History of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 1920-1935. ANZ J Surg 1968; 38: 1-19).

Douglas Miller extended the account provided by Julian Ormond Smith to include comments about the Gordon Craig Library, the creation of the ANZ Journal of Surgery, prominent College personalities, the problems created by World War II, activities in South-East Asia, and plans to expand the College in the 1960’s (Douglas Miller. The History of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons from 1935 to 1960. ANZ J Surg 1969; 38: 302-309).

David Cole has provided a comprehensive account of the first 50 years of the College in New Zealand. At the start of this period Louis Barnett was Chairman of the New Zealand Committee (1927-1936) and became the first New Zealander to become President of the College. The end of the review describes the outstanding achievements in cardiac surgery of Sir Brian Barrat-Boyes at Green Lane (David Cole. The First Half-Century Of The College In New Zealand. ANZ J Surg 1977; 47: 716-731).

Additional references:

How Surgery Came To Australasia

Sir D'Arcy Power
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1935.tb03492.x (Volume 4 Issue 4 (April 1935) p 368-383)

Surgical accountability in the 1880s: the death of Susan Nixon

Greg R. Watters, David R. Walker
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2005.03501.x (Volume 75 Issue 8 (August 2005) p 719-722)

Message From His Majesty The King

DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1935.tb03487.x (Volume 4 Issue 4 (April 1935) - p 339-339)


DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1935.tb03488.x (Volume 4 Issue 4 (April 1935) - p 340-341)


DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1981.tb05970.x (Volume 51 Issue 3 (June 1981) - p 319-325)

The History of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 1920–1935

Julian Ormond Smith
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1968.tb06249.x (Volume 38 Issue 1 (August 1968) - p 1-19)


H. B. Devine
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1934.tb03465.x (Volume 4 Issue 2 (October 1934) - p 191-193)

The Arms of the Colleges of Surgeons I: The Arms and Mace of the Roval Australasian College of Surgeons

Peter G. Jones
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1970.tb04039.x (Volume 40 Issue 2 (November 1970) - p 105-110)

The Flag of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1973.tb06783.x (Volume 42 Issue 3 (February 1973) - p 219-220)


H. B. Devine
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1935.tb03500.x (Volume 4 Issue 4 (April 1935) - p 425-426)


DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1980.tb04162.x (Volume 50 Issue 4 (August 1980) - p 442-443)

The Gift of the College Fountain

Dr Mary Burnell
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1971.tb04084.x (Volume 40 Issue 4 (May 1971) - p 327-328)

The New Zealand and Australian Partnership in a Symbiotic College

Eric M. Nanson
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1977.tb06611.x (Volume 47 Issue 6 (December 1977) p 713-714)

Exploring the legacy of history

Sam Mellick
DOI: 10.1046/j.1445-1433.2001.02276.x (Volume 71 Issue 12 (December 2001) p 757-762)

College Portraits, Surgeons and the Archibald Prize

John Peterson Royle
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2005.03423.x (Volume 75 Issue 6 (June 2005) p 483-488)

Forty years on: something on South Seas Surgery and Surgeons

F. Gordon Bell
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1969.tb05548.x (Volume 39 Issue 1 (August 1969) p 1-11)

The College in South-East Asia

Howard Eddey
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1978.tb07287.x (Volume 48 Issue 2 (April 1978) p 127-128)

The College in the 1980s

G.D. Tracy
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1980.tb04478.x (Volume 50 Issue 1 (February 1980) p 2-3)

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