College timeline

Vision, dedication and passion — explore the College’s history over the years, the evolution of medicine and the role of our physicians.


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1930
Until the 1930s

<p>Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand physicians had to seek membership of the UK's Royal College of Physicians, which had been established by Henry VIII.</p> <p>This was logical as until the post World War 1 period, many Anglo-Australians considered themselves citizens of the British Empire.</p> <p>The original charter from the Privy Council can be viewed in the Council Room at Macquarie Street, Sydney. The charter establishes the College&rsquo;s role as independent of partisan politics.</p>

 
01 Jan
Friendship and scientific stimulus

<p>A group of physicians established The Association of Physicians of Australasia for 'friendship and scientific stimulus&rsquo;. </p>

 
01 Jun
1934
A new College

<p>The Association of Physicians of Australasia Council decided that an examining and executive body College should be formed to enhance the prestige of the profession, stimulate interest in medical education and research, and set a standard of professional ethical conduct.</p> <p>The constitution was to be modelled on that of the London College. </p>

 
01 Jan
1937
Macquarie Street

<p>The Association purchased premises at 145 Macquarie Street, Sydney, which was originally the home of the Fairfax family.</p> <p>Funds were raised by the NSW Government and public donation.</p>

 
01 Apr
A royal title

<p>Royal assent was given for the inclusion of &lsquo;Royal&rsquo; in the College title.</p> <p>Our History of Medicine Library has the letter from British prime minister Joe Lyons indicating King George VI approves the title.</p>

 
01 Jun
1938
Hominum servire saluti

<p>The College was incorporated and the first meeting of the Council was held.</p> <p>The motto Hominum servire saluti &mdash; To serve the health of our people, was adopted for the College coat of arms.</p>

 
01 Apr
Inaugural presidency

<p><a href="https://www.racp.edu.au/about/college-roll/college-roll-bio/blackburn-sir-charles-bickerton ">Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn</a> was the first RACP president. </p> <p>In his speech at the inaugural College ceremony, he concluded by epitomising what he considered the essential objective of the College &mdash; 'fostering facilities for young graduates to acquire advanced knowledge of medicine.'</p>

 
01 Apr
A growing membership

<p>47 candidates from Australia and Aotearoa NZ took the first membership examinations and 41 members were admitted.</p>

 
01 Sep
A research hub

<p>The College Library was established for medical research.</p>

 
30 Nov
1941
A prized discovery

<p>Howard Florey carried out the first ever clinical trials of penicillin. By D-Day 1944, the new drug was in military use for treating war wounds. In 1945, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Ernst Chain and Sir Alexander Fleming for his role in the drugs development.</p> <p>We have his original flask in the Edward Ford Room at 145 Macquarie Street. </p>

 
11 Feb
1945
During the Second World War

<p>145 Macquarie Street was used by US Army medical officers for scientific meetings, by the Red Cross for storing bandages and by the RAAF Medical Command for secret meetings.</p>

 
01 Sep
1948
A publication is born

<p>The College&rsquo;s first scientific journal, Proceedings of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, was published. This was succeeded by The Australasian Annals of Medicine, later renamed The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine, and now the Internal Medicine Journal.</p>

 
01 Jan
1951
Travelling scholarships

<p>The first travelling scholarships were provided by an anonymous donor.</p>

 
01 Jan
1954
Valuable additions

<p>The library acquired valuable Renaissance, 17th and 18th century books from the College of Physicians in London.</p>

 
01 Jan
1958
Changes for our Library

<p>The College Library was renamed the <a href="/about/our-heritage/history-of-medicine-library">History of Medicine Library</a> under the administration of Leslie Cowlishaw. He disposed of most material used for current research.</p>

 
01 Jan
1968
Accreditation

<p>The Hospital Accreditation Committee was set up to consider the training and recognition of specialist physicians.</p>

 
01 Jan
1970
Leading the way

<p>The College created the first Nuclear Medicine training and accreditation program in the world.</p>

 
01 Jan
1978
Continuing Education

<p>The first Director of Continuing Education was appointed.</p>

 
01 Jan
1986
A female lead

<p>Professor Priscilla Kincaid-Smith was elected the first female president of the College.</p>

 
01 Jan
1988
A golden celebration

<p>The RACP&rsquo;s Golden Jubilee was celebrated at the Annual Scientific Meeting in Sydney with 4,000 attendees.</p>

 
08 May
1991
Philanthropy and the College

<p>The RACP Research and Education Foundation was established by Council resolution for the purpose of endorsing funds to support research fellowships and physician education.</p> <p>The <a href="/about/foundation">RACP Foundation</a>&nbsp;continues to fund world-class research with fellowships, scholarships, grants and prizes.</p>

 
01 Feb
1994
The start of MyCPD

<p>The Maintenance of Professional Standards (MOPS) Program, now MyCPD, began.</p>

 
01 Jan
1998
New Divisons

<p>The Australian College of Paediatrics joined the College and the Divisions of <a href="/about/college-structure/adult-medicine-division">Adult Medicine</a>&nbsp;and <a href="/about/college-structure/paediatrics-child-health-division">Paediatrics and Child Health</a>&nbsp;were created. </p>

 
01 Jan
2006
Office of the Dean

<p>The first Dean was appointed and the College Deanery was established to oversee both training and continuing professional development.</p>

 
01 Dec
2008
Restructuring

<p>Changes to the College Constitution established a Board and a one-College structure.</p>

 
01 Jan
2012
A growing Foundation

<p>The RACP Foundation took on administration for the majority of awards across the Divisions, Faculties and Chapters.</p>

 
01 Jan
2017
Make It The Norm

<p>The College advocates for legislative and policy changes to make health equity the norm through action on the social determinants in Aotearoa NZ.</p> <p>See how the College continues its commitment to&nbsp;<a href="/advocacy/make-it-the-norm">Make It The Norm</a>.</p>

 
23 Sep
2020
COVID-19

<p>As coronavirus sweeps the world, the College quickly adapts to changes in our hospitals, medical training and education programs.&nbsp;</p> <p>During this extraordinary public health crisis, our members lead the way in evolving models of care, research and new advocacy efforts.</p>

 
01 Mar
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