History of ANZCA

Silberberg's Certificate of Proficiency.pngAt the beginning of the 20th Century, anaesthetic training began to be introduced into general medical training. The successful administration of six anaesthetics was enough to secure a medical student a “certificate of proficiency”.


When Rupert Hornabrook became Australia’s first full time anaesthetist in 1909 there was no particular training or professional organisation to support him. Anaesthetists were members of organisations representing physicians and surgeons. However, as the field became more specialised, there was an increasing need for specific education and qualifications.


In 1952, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons founded a Faculty of Anaesthetists with 69 foundation Fellows.


Over the next 40 years, Fellowship grew steadily and in February 1992, when the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) was formed, anaesthetists were Australia’s third large specialist medical group with more than 2100 Fellows and 500 trainees. 


ANZCA played a significant role in the advancement of anaesthesia throughout south-east Asia and the Pacific, assisting with anaesthesia training in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and other neighbouring nations.


ANZCA’s major objectives are to:

  • Promote professional standards and patient safety in anaesthesia, perioperative medicine and pain management;
  • Promote education in anaesthesia, perioperative medicine and pain management; and,
  • Advance the science and practice of anaesthesia, perioperative medicine and pain management. 

College HeadquartersThese objectives are intended to cultivate and maintain the highest principles and standards in training, practice and ethics. ANZCA is directly responsible for the examination and qualification of anaesthetists and the standards of practice in Australia and New Zealand.


Over 5000 people around the world now qualify as ANZCA Fellows. In Australia, there is a ratio of approximately one specialist anaesthetist for every 700 people, with similar ratios in New Zealand.


There are currently almost 2000 trainee anaesthetists in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia with 198 hospitals accredited for training throughout these countries.


ANZCA promotes consistent ratios between rural and remote areas, and works closely with hospitals and other authorities to encourage this. 


The Faculty of Pain Medicine was founded in 1999 and currently has over 400 Fellows and over 80 trainees.


ANZCA timeline



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