The first operating theatre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, was opened in 1878. The first picture shows the interior of Alfred Roberts operating theatre around 1900. Since then the design and equipment of operating theatres have changed incredibly and the working techniques are far more advanced as you can see in the other picture.

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Have a browse through the history of working in Sydney’s operating theatres and marvel at the recollections. Look at the photographs, listen to the oral histories (OH) and read about the interesting memories. Moreover, become part of the exhibition and share your memories in the comments section.

This exhibition combines historical quotes and information, audio material and photographs to recollect memories about working in Sydney’s operating theatres, especially from an anaesthetist’s point of view. The project does not intend to showcase a complete picture of all the hospitals in Sydney, nor a complete chronological timeline of developments. Instead, the aim of the exhibition is to present reminiscences from different locations and eras and let them tell the history of anaesthetic practice in Sydney hospitals.

The exhibition themes and content are based mainly on oral histories which have recently been conducted with members of the History of Anaesthesia Library, Museum, Archives (HALMA) Committee as well as archived oral histories in the Harry Daly Museum’s collection. Most of the photographic material comes from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Heritage Centre, St Vincent’s and Mater Health Archives, Archives of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead (formerly known as Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (RAHC) and photographs taken by Dr Michael Cooper at St George Hospital.

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