Honorary Members

The SPANZA Executive elect as an honorary life member of the association any physician or other person distinguished by his or her contribution to paediatric anaesthesia in the opinion of the Executive is worthy of such a distinction. Election shall be by majority vote of the Executive. Those who have been awarded Honorary membership are below:

  • Dr Tom Allen
  • A/Prof David Baines
  • Dr Kester (TCK) Brown
  • Dr Nerida Dilworth
  • Dr Robert Eyres
  • Dr Patrick Farrell
  • Dr Graeme Fisk
  • Dr Victor Harrison
  • Dr Peter Kempthorne
  • Dr John Keneally
  • Dr John Overton
  • Dr Ian Steven
  • Dr Johan Van Der Walt
  • Dr Tom Voss


This medal has been donated by Kester Brown because of his intense interest in the development of our specialty, Paediatric Anaesthesia. It has been crafted by George Friml in Melbourne – a delicate and intricate process.

The pioneers before 1950 included such people as A Distin Morgan in Sydney, Gilbert Troup and Douglas Wilson in Perth, Gilbert Brown and Mary Burnell in Adelaide, Laurie Morton, Bill Cole and Margaret McClelland in Melbourne. Several of these contributed to the development of equipment for use with children. Mary Burnell was one of Australia’s foremost anaesthetists, being both the first woman Dean of the Faculty and President of the ASA.

The appointment of Directors and the advent of Departments of Anaesthesia in the Children’s Hospitals laid the foundation for Paediatric Anaesthesia to become a recognised sub-specialty of anaesthesia. When the donor arrived in Australia in 1966, having already worked in the Children’s Hospitals in Vancouver and Toronto, there was a small, closely knit group of paediatric anaesthetists who advanced clinical anaesthesia, published, taught and developed training in paediatric anaesthesia. Most of these individuals are commemorated on this medal.

Margaret McClelland in Melbourne (centre) was appointed Sessional Anaesthetist in 1947 and became Director of Anaesthesia in 1952. That year the first registrars and anaesthetic technicians were appointed. Soon trainees from New Zealand and interstate were coming to join local registrars. She undertook research into hypothermia (in relation to the development of cardiac anaesthesia), anaesthetic mortality which declined with better training and assistance, and she advocated the introduction of recovery rooms. While she was in London during World War 2 she obtained her DA and helped to elucidate the toxicity caused by the interaction of Trilene and soda lime. She was a founding fellow of the Faculty of Anaesthetists in 1952, became an examiner and was President of the Australian Society of Anaesthetist in 1964-65. She was awarded an OBE.

(Clockwise from 1 o’clock)

  1. Graham Fisk, an Oxford graduate and a 1952 Olympic rower, started at Princess Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney and then moved to the Prince of Wales Hospital when it set up as a second paediatric centre in Sydney. He established paediatric Intensive Care there and was a leading researcher, educationalist, examiner, founding Board Member of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, co-editor of the textbook Anaesthesia for Children. He was a leading contributor to Australian anaesthesia for 20 years. He was awarded the Orton Medal by FANZCA.
  2. Verlie Lines was the first full time staff anaesthetist at Royal Alexandra Hospital for children, appointed in 1955. She had a special interest in anaesthesia for difficult airway problems. She also set up the “oxygen” department which covered all aspects of respiratory therapy.
  3. Ian McDonald (Melbourne) was appointed registrar with anaesthetic duties in 1951. Following a period in Oxford he became assistant to Dr McClellan, contributed to the development of special anaesthetic equipment for babies, published several papers including one of the first on prolonged nasal intubation, with John Stocks. He was the first in Melbourne to ventilate a baby overnight. He was also the Victorian wicketkeeper.
  4. Tom Allen became Director in Adelaide (after a short spell as Director by Warren Gunnar, a position initiated by Mary Burnell) where he developed a good clinical department. He had previously worked in Fiji where he saw the survival of premature infants without the aid of modern methods. He co-authored the important paper on prolonged nasotracheal intubation from Adelaide with Ian Steven, in 1965.
  5. Ian Steven, co-author of the above paper played an important role in respiratory care of infants and children done initially, in Adelaide, in the wards. He succeeded Tom Allen as Director. He guided an enlarging department and had some overseas anaesthetists come for training. He was also Treasurer of the ASA for many years and later became President. He was awarded an AO.
  6. Kester Brown worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne from 1967 to 2006. He was Director of Anaesthesia for 26 years. People from 40 countries trained in his department. He organised paediatric anaesthetic meetings every 3-4 years from 1975-2000 at the hospital and also initiated the Registrars Scientific Meeting in 1971. He received awards for his contributions to the ASA, Faculty/College of Anaesthetists, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care and an AM for his contributions to teaching and research in anaesthesia. He also worked in various capacities of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists becoming President from 2000-2004. He co-authored Anaesthesia for children with Graham Fisk.
  7. Nerida Dilworth became Director at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth in 1960, a position she held for 30 years – the longest serving Director in Australia. She was also Chair of the Division of Surgery for several years. She began intensive care at PMH and was an early advocate of infusions for postoperative pain relief in children. Her contribution spread wider as a member of the Board of Faculty of Anaesthetists for 10 years. She became assessor and also examined. She was awarded an AM.
  8. John Stocks came from Sydney, having won both the Sydney University and New South Wales chess championships. He started at St Vincent’s Hospital then in 1963 moved to the Children’s where he became, in turn, assistant to the Director, Deputy Director, Director of Intensive Care in 1969 and also of Anaesthesia, when Dr McClelland retired in 1970. He was a quiet man, highly respected by his peers because of his diligence, thoroughness and high standard of patient care. He was the driving force in the development of Intensive Care in the hospital, publishing on prolonged intubation in 1965 with Ian McDonald, then elucidating the importance of a leak around the tube to avoid subglottic stenosis. His classic paper on the management of respiratory failure in infants was published in 1973. He also published at the hospital Notes on Paediatric Anaesthesia which were widely used, even overseas. He died following cancer surgery when only 43.

There were other important contributors but unfortunately there was not space on the medal to include them.

Tess Brophy (Crammond) made an important impact on paediatric anaesthesia in Queensland when she returned from overseas in 1957. She also maintained an interest in neuroanaesthesia. She contributed widely to anaesthesia affairs – Secretary of the local ASA (1960-64) and then Convenor of the Scientific Program Committee 1965-70. She later became a member of the Board and then Dean of the Faculty of Anaesthetists (1972-74). She was a co-founder of the Australian Resuscitation Council and was on the Editorial Board of A & IC. She received several honours including the Orton Medal from the Faculty of Anaesthetists, an OBE and an AO for her outstanding contributions.

Charles Sera in Sydney became an Honorary Anaesthetist at Princess Alexandra Hospital for children in 1948 and contributed several important paper on his research as well as developing respiratory resuscitation of the newborn.

Surgeons of the time acknowledged that their advances in surgery were due largely to the advances in anaesthesia and intensive care that those included on the medal and above introduced.

Many of these people reached high offices in anaesthesia and gained recognition for their contributions. Among those who have been mentioned, four were President of the ASA, two were Dean of the Faculty of Anaesthetists and at least six received national awards. It is not surprising that Paediatric Anaesthesia has developed into such a strong speciality in this region.