ASMR History


Barry Firkin, together with a number of other young scientists, founded the ASMR in 1961. The Society has grown immensely since its inception. It is the peak body representing health and medical researchers in Australia. In addition to our core membership, the Society represents more than 140,000 Australians through association with various foundation groups, specialist societies and medical colleges. Our ongoing role in public, political and scientific advocacy continues to reflect the vision and dedication of Prof Barry Firkin.


In 1960 Barry G Firkin, Director of the Clinical Research Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney drew together some like-minded people (Alan Skyring, Jim McRae, Ruthven Blackburn), who had been influenced by the American Federation for Clinical Research, to establish the Australian Society for Medical Research.


Barry became the first President of ASMR and also its first financial member. The annual scientific meeting (National Scientific Conference) has been held every year since 1961.


The Society owes a debt of gratitude to Barry for his pivotal role in the establishment of ASMR. His vision, courage and tenacity in those early years set the groundwork for the growth and progress of a vigorous organisation that has successfully maintained its ideals while pursuing its goals. Barry was appointed a Life Member in 1983 with the oration in his honour commencing in 1993.


History of the ASMR – 1961 TO 1976, J K Healy