Our History


Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses Inc.

The inaugural meeting of the Australian Association of Stomal Therapists was held on 27th March 1971 at the Maitland Lecture Theatre, Sydney Hospital. The meeting was convened by Prof Edward Stuart Reginald Hughes, a surgeon from Royal Melbourne Hospital. Prof ESR Hughes chaired the meeting until a committee was elected.

At the Inaugural Meeting it was agreed to formalise an association of registered nurses interested in stomal therapy and the association was to be called the Australian Association of Stomal Therapists. An Executive Committee was elected, a proposed Constitution and Code of Ethics were adopted with some amendments and Founding Members were proposed.

Further discussions took place in regard to selecting a badge or emblem for the Association, determining a process for notifying interested bodies in the formation of the Association and the need to establish training courses for registered nurses in stomal therapy.

It was decided to hold a Scientific Meeting annually for the on-going education of members. Full membership was limited to registered nurses and a subscription fee of $1.00 annually was agreed.

Keryln Carville
February, 2000 Revised, Executive Committee 2001

Registered Nurses Present

          • E. Kyte
          • H. Tucker
          • E. Arnold
          • M. Barrett
          • J. Considine
          • B. Hughes


          • B. Oldmeadow
          • L. Cox
          • MJ. Kroeber
          • D. Murphy

Surgeons present

          • Prof ESR Hughes, Royal Melbourne Hospital
          • Mr Edward Wilson, Sydney Hospital
          • Mr Mark Killingbach, Sydney Hospital

First Executive Committee

The first Executive Committee of the AAST as elected at the Inaugural Meeting were:

President   Elinor Kyte, nominated by M. Barrett seconded by E. Arnold

Vice-President Helen Tucker, nominated by M. Barrett. seconded by J. Considine. Secretary./Treasurer – Elizabeth Arnold, nominated by M. Barrett seconded by H. Tucker

All the Committee members were from Victoria, for it was decided that it would expedite all Association business if the members could meet regularly for meetings.

Founding members of AASTN 1971

        • Sr Elinor Kyte, Stomal Therapist at Mr Hughes and Mr Cuthbertson’s Clinic, Melbourne
        • Sr Meryl Barrett, Royal Melbourne Hospital.
        • Sr E.lizabeth (Libby) Arnold, Royal Melbourne Hospital.
        • Sr Jill Jardine Appliance Department, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.
        • Sr Helen Tucker, Appliance Sister, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.
        • Sr Bunty Oldmeadow, Sydney Home Nursing Service, Sydney.
        • Sr Joy Considine, Sydney Home Nursing Service, Sydney.
        • Sr Betty Hughes, Tutor Sister NSW College of Nursing (also a committee member on the NSW Ileostomy Assoc, NSW
        • Colostomy Association and Australian & New Zealand Council of Stomal Associations).
        • Sr Lynette Cox, Paraplegic Unit, Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital, Perth.
        • Sr Mary Jo Kroeber, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth.
        • Sr Dorothy Murphy (also known by her married name Bennetts), Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, Perth (deceased).

First Scientific Meeting

The First Scientific Meeting and Annual General Meeting was held at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne on 24 March 1972.
The Opening Address was given by Prof ESR Hughes

Papers were presented by:

    • Sr M Barrett (Melbourne) Attitude of Both Patient and Relatives to Stomas
    • Sr E. Kyte (Melbourne) The Importance of Preoperative Siting for Stomas
    • Sr H Martin (Melbourne) To Stick or Not to Stick.
    • Sr MJ Kroeber (Perth) The New Cashalton Urinary Diversion.
    • Sr J. Jardine (Melbourne) Management of Paediatric Colostomies
    • Sr E. Arnold (Melbourne) Management of Fistulas
    • Sr D. Murphy (Perth) My Training as an Enterostomal Therapist.

The meeting was well attended by stomal therapists, surgeons and members of the nursing profession. The following Annual General Meeting and Scientific Meeting was held in Sydney at Sydney Hospital on 23-24th February, 1973.

AMA recognition of AASTN

In 1971 as a result of a recommendation to the AAST from Prof ESR Hughes who lobbied on behalf of the AAST to the AMA, the Association sought recognition of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) as either an Affiliated or Associated Medical Service. The AAST didn’t qualify for such membership because they didn’t meet the established criteria of having less than 10% of their members as non-medical persons.

However, they were recognised as an Ancillary Member by the AMA in August, 1971. In reality, this membership was only for a brief period due to changes in the Constitution and Policies of the AMA. The following transcripts of letters between the AAST/N and AMA summarise the historical developments and will clarify confusion amongst some members of the AASTN who have been under the assumption that this recognition and ancillary membership has continued to exist.

Historical summary of events 4th June 1971 Prof ESR Hughes wrote to Elinor Kyte, President of the AAST recommending the Association writes to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and request the Association seek recognition as an Associate or Affiliate organisation of the AMA.

Elinor Kyte President AAST wrote to the AMA requesting recognition of the AAST as an Associate or Affiliate organisation of the AMA.

A letter from the AMA informing the AAST that the request for Affiliation or Association Membership will be considered by the AMA Federal Council at its meeting in Brisbane on 19-20th August 1971. The letter stated that organised bodies seeking to become an associate organisation should have as one of their objects the promotion of the medical or the allied sciences whether generally or in respect of any branch or aspect of the medical or the allied sciences, and that it was probable upon this concept that the recognition of the organisation would rest.

the AMA wrote to the AAST informing them that the matter was considered by the Federal Council at its 19-20th August, 1971 meeting and it was resolved; “That the Australian Association of Stomal Therapists be granted recognition by the Australian Medical Association as an ancillary medical service and notification of this be published in the policy document of the Association, Appendix IV.” ( According to the AMA archivist, this letter which was addressed to Sr Kyte was returned to sender and subsequently another letter with the same contents was sent to Sr E. J. Arnold, Secretary and Treasurer on 4th November, 1971).

Stomal Therapists was subsequently added to Appendix IV: Ancillary Medical Services pages 44-46 of the booklet Australian Medical Association Policy on Medical Services which incorporated amendments up to June 1971 to the Association’s policy document originally adopted in May 1965.

The other ancillary services mentioned were Nursing Services, Physiotherapy, (in private and hospital practice), Social Work, Occupational Therapy and Dietetics. Technically at that time, nurse Stomal Therapists could have been recognised as an ancillary service under ‘Nursing Services” however, they were given recognition in their own right, albeit for a short period before the AMA changed their policy.

4th September, 1971 in The Medical Journal of Australia: Supplement page 6

“Federal Council in discussion agreed that the Australian Association of Stoma Therapists was not suitable for affiliation or association , but resolved that it be granted recognition as an ancillary service and that notification of that should be published in the policy document of the Association, Appendix 4”.

4th November, 1971 A letter from the AMA to the AAST informing it of the above resolution.

15th August, 1985 A a letter was sent from Eileen Lewis, Secretary to the Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses (AASTN) asking for confirmation that the association continued to be an ancillary medical service of the AMA. (This followed the change of name from the AAST to AASTN.

A letter was sent from the AMA to the AASTN stating “the formal concept of ‘Ancillary Medical Services’ which was developed in conjunction with the Medical Services Review Committee Report in the late 1960’s is no longer applicable, because that document has been superseded by periodic publication of AMA Policies on a variety of issues”. Included was a copy of the current “Policies of the Australian Medical Association and Directory for 1984-85”, paragraphs 265-288 on pages 41-43 (the Policy now recognised the significant role in health care of health professionals who are highly qualified and have a wide spectrum of functions and skills). The letter of the 22nd August, 1985 also noted the change in the name of the organisation and asked for advice of any change in the nature of the organisation or significance in the change of name.

A letter from Eileen Lewis, Secretary AASTN thanking the AMA for sending the current policies and explaining that the change of name of the Association was changed at the 1984 AGM in Launceston, Tasmania was in name only so that the general public and allied health professionals not involved with the Association would be more aware that Stomal Therapists were a professional nursing body.

A letter from ESR Hughes (Sir Edward) to AMA Victoria (was passed to the Federal Office of the AMA) asking whether the affiliation has been continued.

A letter to Sir Edward Hughes from the AMA stating that the Stomal Therapists Association was never an affiliated organisation of the AMA as a condition or affiliation was that the organisation seeking affiliation should not include within its membership more than 10% who are not duly qualified medical practitioners registered in any of the States or Territories of the Commonwealth of Australia. The formal concept reflected in Appendix IV which related to ancillary medical services was no longer applicable because the document was subsequently superseded by periodic publication of AMA policies on a variety of issues.

A letter from Sir Edward Hughes to Secretary General (Dr George Repin) stating that the AASTN had grown to about 400 in membership and “has proved a remarkable enterprise” and suggesting that it would be a “fine gesture if the AMA continued with the ‘ancillary’ named groups” and that ‘the original ancillary status was secured through the efforts of the late Sir Geoffrey Newman-Morris”.

A letter to Sir Edward from the AMA Secretary-General which stated that ‘while sympathetic with your objective of formal recognition…I regret that with the rescission of policies previously embodied in the Medical Services Review Committee Report of May 1965 there is no mechanism for specifically recognising Ancillary Medical Services…”. As the above indicates, the Australian Association of Stomal Therapists were granted recognition by the AMA as an ‘Ancillary Medical Service” in 1971 as a result of Australian Medical Policy on Medical Services which incorporated amendments up to June, 1971 to the Association’s policy document originally adopted in May, 1965 (and the addition to Appendix IV: Ancillary Medical Services pages 44-46).

The policy had been changed by the time the next “Policies of the Australian Medical Association 1978” booklet was printed and was substituted with the following resolutions No152-154 page 20:
152 The Australian Medical Association wishes to establish and maintain cordial relationships with other recognised professions in the field of health care in order to foster mutual understanding and co-operation and resolve difficulties in the community interest. (1978)

153 Some health professionals have become highly qualified and have a wide spectrum of functions and skills, certain of which are exercised independently of doctors, and some of which tend to overlap traditional medical functions. (1978)

154 The separate identity and special role of the medical profession will be best served if all doctors give recognition to the contribution of other health professionals, learn to understand the range and scope of their skills, and provide constructive leadership in situations where a team approach is appropriate in the provision of patient care. (1978).


The need for an emblem or badge for the AAST was discussed at the Inaugural Meeting. In March 1971. An emblem was agreed upon and a badge minted in 1972. Swan & Hudson appeared to be the producer prior to 1984 however, in 1985 The Perfection Plate Pty Ltd NSW was asked to produce the badges (Executive Minutes 26th May, 1984 at Concord).

Initial stomal therapy programmes

The first stomal therapy course was conducted at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria on 18th October, 1971 and there was one full-time student and three part-time students. By 1976 all of the States except Tasmania and the Territories had established stomal therapy training programmes. The early programs varied from 2-4 weeks duration but expanded to 6 then 8 weeks duration as AASTN training standards were aligned with those promoted by the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists.


The Newsletter dated September, 1977 announced that Certificates would be issued and sent to all financial members.

Change of name

At the 1984 AGM in Launceston, Tasmania a proposed change to the name of the Australian Association of Stomal Therapists was proposed and accepted. The Association was re-named the Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses.

Newsletter to Journal

The Australian Association of Stomal Therapists Newsletter began in October 1973 and a proposal was accepted at the AGM in April 1987 in Brisbane to convert the Newsletter to a journal format. A competition was held to select an appropriate name for the new journal and Helen Simcock (WA) won the competition with her suggested title: The Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia. The new-look Journal was published in September 1987 volume 7, number 3.

National Stomal Therapy Week

In 1986 at the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists Congress in Perth, Western Australia, Mr Neal Blewett (Federal Minister for Health) announced approval for a week in June to be designated National Stomal Therapy Week (NSTW). It was registered with the Health Department and was held annually beginning after the second Sunday in June.

Keryln Carville February 2000, Updated 2004

To ensure a full week was able to be dedicated to NSTW awareness events, the Tasmanian Branch proposed that the dates of the NSTW be changed to avoid the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. The new dates of NSTW were agreed to be ‘starting on the Monday of the last full week of June’.

2022 AASTN Annual General Meeting

Constitution, Policy Manual and Code of Ethics

Constitution was accepted at the Inaugural Meeting, 27th March, 1971.

Constitution amended 1st May, 1976

Constitution amended 18th April, 1985

Constitution amended 27th April, 1995

Constitution amended date April, 2001

Policy Manual was commenced 1971

Code of Ethics established at Inaugural Meeting 27th March, 1971 and changes adopted 26 April, 1984 at AGM in Launceston and at AGM, Perth 2001.

INCORPORATION OF ASSOCIATION Proposed under special business 23rd AGM 21st April, 1993, at Brisbane proposed by Jenny Prentice (WA)”that the AASTN Executive be empowered to incorporate the association as a matter of urgency. Amendment to motion empowered the Executive to further investigate and formulate a process towards incorporation .

Motion on incorporation passed at 24th AGM 1994 in Sydney.

AASTN were incorporated as an association in Sydney in 1996.

Honorary members

  • 1977 Prof ESR Hughes (Sir Edward 1977, now deceased) – Victoria
  • 1981 Mr Neville Davis MD (Syd), HON DS(Qld). FRCS(Eng), FRACS, FACS
  • 1989 Mr David Failes AM, MB, BS(Syd), FRCS(Eng), FRACS – NSW
  • 1989 Mr Mark Killingback FRACS, FRCS, FRCS(Ed) – NSW
  • 1990 Mr John Herron MB MS(Qld), FRCS(Ed), FRCS(Eng), FRCS. – QLD
  • 1990 Mr Fred Leditsche – Qld
  • 1992 Mr A. Denis Campbell MB, BS, FRCS, FRACS, FACS -QLD
  • 1996 Prof Lesley Bokey – NSW
  • 1999 Mr Russell Stitz – QLD