History of the Endocrine Society of Australia

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The origins of ESA 

50th Anniversary

Recent changes

Past Office Bearers


 The origins of ESA

In May 1957, Keith Harrison in Sydney and Bryan Hudson in Melbourne proposed an association of physicians interested in diabetes and metabolism. By October of that year, a committee was set up to explore the formation of a society for the study of diabetes and endocrinology, and a programme was planned for a scientific meeting. A draft constitution was formulated and, in February 1958, all those interested in the formation of an Endocrine Society were invited to a meeting in Sydney in June. Sixty-nine people attended this first meeting, and these and a further 30 interested people became the foundation members of ESA.

The Endocrine Society of Australia was officially formed in 1958 with the aims of advancing knowledge and practice in endocrinology (the study of hormones) and to bring together physicians and scientists in this area of study. It was one of the first medical specialist societies in Australia. From humble beginnings, it has flourished to a society with over 1000 members which annually runs three successful clinical and scientific meetings, and provides scholarships, research grants, and travel grants for its young members. Members have received international and national recognition within the field and more generally. Collaboration between scientists and physicians has been a key strength of the Society.

Adapted from:


The following documentation details the initial communications between founding members to form a national endocrine society in 1958. 



 50th Anniversary (2008)

On 25 August 2008, a reception was held at Government House in Victoria, by invitation of Governor Professor David de Kretser, the 27th Governor of Victoria and ESA Life Member. ESA President Leon Bach addressed the membership at this auspicious event, recognising the history of one of the oldest medical societies in Australia.

An excerpt from Professor Leon Bach's speech:

"...  ESA has over 900 members, runs 3 highly successful scientific and clinical meetings, provides higher degree students and postdoctoral fellows with financial support, and makes 3 junior investigator awards and 3 international travel awards.We are involved in clinician training, and providing advice and input to Government and professional bodies on endocrine matters. Our members have made internationally significant scientific and clinical discoveries and we count among our members a State Governor, a University Vice-chancellor, RACP Presidents, Faculty of Medicine deans, Institute heads, and Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science. Sometimes we are too modest in acknowledging our achievements but I think we all agree that our founders would be justifiably proud of what their Society has become."

Download: Professor Leon Bach's speech 


As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, a supplement was prepared by Professor David Phillips in collaboration with colleagues, documenting the Society's history. This supplement was included in the proceedings of the annual scientific meeting.

Download: Supplement to the 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting 


Governor David De Kretser addressing the ESA membership at Government House with (from L-R) David Phillips, Mark McLean, Vicki Clifton and Leon Bach. 


Endocrinology in the 21st Century

The 21st Century has seen major changes in the way clinical endocrinology is conducted. Some of these changes include the move away from being a predominantly in-patient to predominantly outpatient-based specialty. Advanced trainee demographics have also changed, with a 79% to 21% female to male gender balance, with many trainees choosing to practice in community outpatient settings rather than in teaching hospital positions.

The Covid pandemic of 2020 allowed the widespread introduction of telehealth for clinical consultations. The rapid employment of telehealth has enabled better service provision to isolated communities.

Increased progress in endocrinology remains dependent on basic science and translational research. However, huge challenges remain for researchers, who operate in an ever-more competitive research funding environment. As an illustration, overall funding success rates in NHMRC schemes have dropped from 22% in 2013 (totaling just over $811 million) to 12.9% in 2020 (totalling just over $726 million) [Source NHMRC1].

In 2015, the national Government created the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), as an investment to pay for medical research initiatives.  With ongoing support, this fund has grown to $20 billion, with funding schemes based on areas of national priority. The funding schemes currently comprise 20 initiatives under 4 themes (patients, researchers, research missions and research translation). 



 Past Office Bearers

  President Vice President Secretary  Treasurer Councillors
1958-60 Ewan Downie   E. Pincus Taft E. Pincus Taft  
1960-62 Cliff W.Emmens   Keith Harrison Keith Harrison  
1962-64 Keith Harrison,   Ian D. Thomas Ian D. Thomas  
Cliff W. Emmens (March ‘63)  
1964-66 Basil Hetzel Victor M. Trikojus Ivan G. Jarrett  Ivan G. Jarrett (1965), Dr R I Cox (1966) Dr A Blackshaw, Dr R I Cox, Dr I Hales, Prof B Hudson, Prof WV Macfarlane, Dr I Thomas
1966-68 Bryan Hudson Victor M. Trikojus Roger Melick Ivan G. Jarrett  
1968-70 E. Pincus Taft Ron I. Cox Roger Melick Ivan G. Jarrett A W Blackshaw, B Hudson, L Lazarus, T S Reeve, R D H Stewart
1970-72 Ivan G. Jarrett Ken A. Ferguson T.J. Martin Les Lazarus R D Gordon, F I R Martin, H P Taft, Frances Thomas
1972-74 Ken A. Ferguson Les Lazarus Richard D. Gordon Les Lazarus R I Cox, F I R Martin, Frances Thomas, J R Turtle, R F Seamark
1974-76 Henry G. Burger John R. Turtle Sol Posen Cres J. Eastman D Gutteridge, P E Harding, A E Stocks, E G Wilmshurst
1976-78 Sol Posen John P. Coghlan Philip E. Harding Cres J. Eastman H G Burger, R D Gordon, D Gutteridge, C D Nancarrow, R W Retallack (Appointed 1978)
1978-80 John P. Coghlan Cres J. Eastman Richard G. Larkins John W. Funder D J Chisholm, D H Gutteridge, C D Nancarrow, M L Wellby
1980-82 Cres J. Eastman John W. Funder Don P. Cameron Gary L. Warne J P Coghlan, R G Larkins, L Lazarus, M L Wellby
1982-84 John W. Funder Richard G. Larkins Rob C. Baxter Gary L. Warne D P Cameron, J Corcoran, S Judd, P Pullan
1984-86 Richard G. Larkins Don P. Cameron Rob C. Baxter David M. Hurley L Harrison, S Judd, J R Stockigt, G L Warne
1986-88 Don P. Cameron Rob C. Baxter Stephen J. Judd David M. Hurley G Tregear, L Harrison, G L Warne, J Eisman
1988-90 Rob C. Baxter Stephen J. Judd Jim R. Stockigt David J. Handelsman J Eisman, R V Jackson, G W Tregear, P J Fuller
1990-92 Jim R. Stockigt John A. Eisman Geoff W. Tregear David J. Handelsman R. Smith, R. V. Jackson, P. J. Fuller. R. L Prince
1992-94 David J. Handelsman Peter J. Fuller Richard L. Prince Duncan J. Topliss R V Jackson, S J Judd, K Ho, G P Risbridger
1994-96 Peter J. Fuller Richard L. Prince Gail P. Risbridger Duncan J. Topliss P A Crock, R V Jackson, R J Rodgers, J D Zazac
1996-98 Duncan J. Topliss Ray J. Rodgers Gail P. Risbridger Moira S. Lewitt K Ho, R H Mortimer, R Smith, Z D Zajac
1998-00 Ray J. Rodgers Jeffrey D. Zajac Ken K.Y. Ho Moira S. Lewitt,  
Brendan J. Waddell (May ‘99) S Stanton, R C Cuneo, R Smith, B J Canny
2000-02 Ken K.Y. Ho Brendan J. Waddell Ben J. Canny Cathie L. Coulter Dr Sonia Stanton, A/Prof Ross Cuneo, Prof Evan Simpson, Prof Bruce Robinson
2002-04 Ben J. Canny Jeffrey D. Zajac Ross C. Cuneo Cathie L. Coulter Dr John Burgess, Dr Catherine Choong, Prof Bruce Robinson, Prof Evan Simpson
2004-06 Jeffrey D. Zajac Leon A. Bach Mark McLean Vicki L. Clifton Dr Catherine Choong, Prof Evan Simpson, Prof David Healy, Dr David Torpy
2006-08 Leon A. Bach Mark McLean David J. Phillips Vicki L. Clifton Tim Cole, Evan Simpson, David Healy, Bu Yeap, Peter Ebeling, Elke-Christine Hendrich
2008-10 Mark McLean Vicki Clifton David J. Phillips Bu Beng Yeap Tim Cole, Evan Simpson, Peter Ebeling, David Healy, Warwick Inder, Helena Teede, Leon Bach
2010-12 Vicki Clifton Peter Ebeling Timothy Cole Warrick Inder Bu Yeap, Evan Simpson, Helena Teede, Chen Chen, Nicolette Hodyl, Belinda Henry
2012-14 Peter Ebeling Helena Teede Timothy Cole Warrick Inder Morton Burt, Chen Chen,Nicolette Hodyl, Belinda Henry, Ashim Sinha, Bu Yeap
2014-16 Helena Teede Warrick Inder Tim Cole Nicolette Hodyl Bu Yeap, Chen Chen, Belinda Henry, Ashim Sinha, Morton Burt, Craig Harrison, Peter Ebeling
2016-18 Warrick Inder Tim Cole Morton Burt Nicolette Hodyl Bu Yeap, Belinda Henry, Ann McCormack, Mathis Grossmann
Craig Harrison (2017)
2018-20 Tim Cole Bu Yeap Morton Burt Belinda Henry Ann McCormack, Mathis Grossmann, Shane Hamblin, Diana Learoyd, Emily MacKenzie, 
2020-2022 Bu Yeap Ann McCormack Mathis Grossman Belinda Henry Ann McCormack, Shane Hamblin, Diana Learoyd, Emily MacKenzie, Ada Cheung, Fran Milat