The Australian Physiological and Pharmacological Society had its genesis
in 1957, when the late W.V. Macfarlane, then Professor of Physiology at
the University of Queensland, spoke to P.O. Bishop at the University of
Sydney, J.C. Eccles at the Australian National University, and the late
R.D. Wright and the late F.H. Shaw at the University of Melbourne, about
the need for the formation of an Australian Physiological Society. All
agreed that such a move was overdue, although it was not until 1959 that
definite steps to establish a society were taken. In that year W.V. Macfarlane,
who had moved in the meantime to the Australian National University in
Canberra, undertook the planning of a scientific meeting to be held in
Sydney in May 1960. A draft constitution for the proposed society was
drawn up with the assistance of G. Sawer.
Over 26-28 May 1960, 126 physiologists and pharmacologists attended a
meeting in the Department of Physiology, University of Sydney at which
84 scientific papers were read. A business meeting was held on 26 May,
attended by 49 scientists from Australia and New Zealand who were active
in the areas of physiology or pharmacology. Those present were invited
to consider the form to be taken by the proposed society and to consider
the draft constitution. P.O. Bishop, head of the host Department, took
the chair and W.V. Macfarlane acted as secretary. The name of the society
chosen at this meeting was the Australian Physiological Society, but,
in 1967, the word Pharmacology was included in the name, in recognition
of the fact that pharmacologists had been strongly represented and very
active in the Society from its foundation.
ASCEPT drew increasing numbers of pharmacologists away from the
Society, leading to the recognition by the early 2000s that the
Society had become one representing only physiologists. At the
Sydney 2003 meeting, a motion was passed to return to the
original name, and in February 2004 the necessary changes to
the Constiution were passed by postal ballot to effect the change
of name to the "The Australian Physiological Society Inc.".
Because the abbreviation "APS" is used by many to refer to the
American society, the decision to use the abbreviation "AuPS"
was made by Council, and the Society's internet domain was
registered as "AuPS.org.au".
The inaugural meeting appointed the first council, which consisted of
eight members with W.V. Macfarlane as National Secretary and P.O. Bishop
as Treasurer. Subsequent office bearers have been:
P.I. Korner, M.E. Holman, J.R. Hales, S.R. O'Donnell, J.A. Young, T.O.
Morgan, C. Bell, A.R. Luff, R.J. Lang, D.A. Saint, J. Lynch, R.
Murphy and M. Watt.
M.G. Taylor, A.J. Day, P.W. Gage, W. Burke, C. Bell, A.L.A. Boura, D.I.
Cook, C.E. Hill, D.G. Allen, C.B. Neylon, S. Bröer, P. Thorn,
In 1981, the Society created the position of President. The first
elected president was A.K. McIntyre.
W.J. Simmonds, P.I. Korner, M.E. Holman, M.J. Rand, D.R. Curtis, J.A.
Young, P.W. Gage, D. Adams, D.G. Allen, G. Lamb.
Since the early 1970s, two scientific meetings a year were held by the
Society, hosted by Departments of Physiology or Pharmacology in one or
other of the Australian Universities. From 1997, due to changing circumstances,
in particular the proliferation of specialist societies, the Society moved
to hold only one annual meeting. The publication of two Issues of the
Proceedings annually was retained.
In May 1970, the Council felt that the Society was stable enough financially
for it to publish its own journal, to be called the Proceedings
of the Australian Physiological and Pharmacological Society. The
first issue, which was produced by an editorial committee consisting of
M.E. Holman, A.J. Day and M.L. Mashford, contained the abstracts of the
papers presented at the 10th Annual General Meeting held in the Department
of Physiology, University of Melbourne in May 1970. In 1971, D.R. Curtis
was appointed the Editor of the Proceedings. Subsequent Editors
have been J.A. Young, J.J. Carmody, D.F. Davey, J.M. Lingard, A.R. Luff,
L.M. Aitkin, I. McCance, D.F. Davey, A. Dinudom and D.G. Allen.
Starting in 2000, one number of the two issues, containing the
abstracts of the Annual Scientific Meeting, was supplied only to
registrants of the meeting in hard copy, but was published
on the Society's web site. In 2002 Council decided to cease
publication of paper issues of the Proceedings.
In 2003, the first on-line submission and publication of the
meeting abstracts went smoothly, ensuring that electronic publication
will continue in future.
International Meetings and Associations
In August 1972, the Society hosted a South East Asian and Pacific Regional
Meeting of the International Union of Physiological Sciences in the Department
of Physiology at the University of Sydney. In August 1983, it hosted the
29th Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences at
the University of New South Wales. In February 1988, it participated in
the inaugural meeting of the Australian Societies for Experimental Biology,
a federation of the twelve leading biological societies in Australia.
In 2001 APPS and the Physiological Society of New Zealand co-hosted
the 34th Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences
in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Society has been seminally involved in formation of the Federation
of the Asian and Oceanian Physiological Societies (FAOPS), providing advice
and financial support. In 1998 the Society's 66th Meeting was held in
Brisbane in conjunction with the 4th Congress of FAOPS, the 2nd Congress
of FAONS (The Federation of Asian-Oceanian Neuroscience Societies) and
the Annual Meeting of the Physiological Society of New Zealand. More than
500 delegates attended. Prof D. Adams chaired the Congress Organising
Committee and Prof E. McLachlan the International Programme Committee.
In 1999, Prof J.A. Young was elected President of FAOPS.
*See also Macfarlane, W.V. (1977) Origins of the Australian Physiological
Society, Proceedings of the Australian Physiological and Pharmacological
Society, 9, 1-5.