The Founding Era (Late 1970s)
- In the late 1970s, a passionate group of histotechnologists gathered with a shared objective: to form a study group.
- Their mission was clear: to support those preparing for the Histology Fellowship examination of the Australian Institute of Medical Technology (now the Australian Institute of Medical and Clinical Scientists).
- These dedicated individuals convened monthly at various laboratories across Sydney, laying the initial groundwork for what was to come.
The Birth of the Histotechnology Group June 1981
- As the group expanded, a significant moment arrived in June 1981 with the formation of the Histotechnology Group of NSW.
- This new entity welcomed all who shared an interest in Histotechnology, broadening its mission to further the interests of anyone involved in the field.
- Monthly meetings and discussions found a home at the University of Sydney in the Veterinary Faculty, with Mr. Bruce Munro leading as chairman, Mrs. Beverley Horsburgh as the secretariat, and Ms. Anna Vimlati as Treasurer.
- The Histograph, a regular newsletter edited and published by Mr. Alan Smith, became a valuable channel for communication.
Advancing as a Recognised Laboratory Profession
- By September 1981, the group had organised its first weekend workshop, jointly held with Victorian Histotechnologists.
- Over the following years, the Histotechnology Group of NSW worked tirelessly to elevate histotechnologists as recognised laboratory professionals.
- Membership expanded to include scientists, technical officers, pathologists, and professionals from various related specialties.
Expanding Reach and National Presence
- While based in NSW, the group extended its arms to welcome members from all regions of Australasia.
- It proudly counts members from other states in Australia among its ranks.
- In 1999 the group became incorporated and was renamed the Histotechnology Society of NSW
An Impressive Roster of Speakers
- Over the years, the society has hosted seminars and practical workshops at various locations throughout NSW, fostering a strong sense of community and knowledge sharing.
- The society’s events have featured an impressive line-up of speakers, including international guests such as Dr. Jules Elias, Mr. Lee Luna, Mr. Harry Cook, Mr. John Bancroft, Mr. Colin Read, Dr. Richard Cartun, Dr. Tillie Boon, and Ms. Florence Niggard.
- Australian guest speakers have also made valuable contributions, with names like Dr. Stuart Chew, Professor Tony Leung, Mr. Jim Milios, Dr. Richard Jaworski, and many others.
A Rich Tapestry of Topics
- Throughout its journey, the society has delved into a wide range of topics, from tissue artefacts and laboratory safety to staining techniques, immunohistochemistry, microscopy, and even diverse subjects like astronomy and fishing.
- Workshops and hands-on learning experiences have been integral, thanks to generous support from companies providing materials.
Strong Support from the Industry
- The Histotechnology Society of NSW has enjoyed unwavering support from the commercial suppliers, both in terms of sponsorship and active participation in activities.
- Several industry representatives have played pivotal roles as committee members, contributing their expertise and resources to the society’s endeavours.
Leading national training and competency
- In 2017, 2019 and 2021 Committee member Leah Simmons led the review of the National Training and Competency Benchmarks for Vocational Education and Training as the Commonwealths Australian Industry Expert in Laboratory Operations.
- These reviews dramatically improved the quality of graduates from TAFE and private register training organisations and introduced histotechnology skillsets for the first time.
- The 2021 review involved the development of the first vocational education and training and competency benchmarks for surgical cut-up. This was led by now Chairperson, Leah Simmons with committee members Elena Petrovska and Rick Farquharson contributing as subject matter experts on the National Technical Advisory Committee.
Thriving and Diverse Membership
- The Histotechnology Society of NSW has journeyed from a humble study group in the late 1970s to a thriving, diverse community of histotechnologists and related professionals.
- Today, the society thrives with a diverse membership that spans related fields, including pathology, veterinary and plant sciences, medical research and forensics.
- Its dedication to education, collaboration, and inclusivity has been the cornerstone of its success, and its story continues to unfold with each passing year.