The progress of western medical science and the history of health service development in New South Wales share paths in time from 1788 when the first fleet arrived at Botany Bay.

Geographically diverse and expansive, colonisation in NSW created a challenging backdrop for the delivery of health care in the penal settlement.

From turbulent beginnings set against the harsh realities of drought, epidemics and social upheaval, the budding colonial medical service grew into an organised statewide health system that continues to develop and cater to the needs of generations of people.

In 1976, Dr C.J. Cummins, former Director-General of Public Health and a well-respected and long-serving member of the NSW medical fraternity, accepted an invitation by the then Health Commission of NSW to write an historical account of the development of public health services in NSW.

The history, republished in November 2003, chronicles the foundation of the Colonial Medical Service to the establishment of the Health Commission in 1973, spanning a period pitted with world-changing events, such as war and pioneering health discoveries.

Publication: A History of Medical Administration in NSW 1788-1973 by Dr C.J Cummins.

Current as at: Tuesday 7 December 2021