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A tour to the Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History 

On Tuesday 22th August, a small group of Probians met at the Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History in St. Kilda Road. The house is a beautiful white Victorian mansion surrounded by magnificent trees and lovely gardens of azaleas and roses enclosed by clipped hedges. 

A former Practitioner of Anaesthesia took us on a tour. There were many cupboards and drawers of instruments and all sorts of gadgets that were used in operating theatres over many years. Many instruments were developed in theatres on the battlefields and are still in use today. 

The first drug with anaesthetic properties discovered was nitrous-oxide in 1772 also known as “laughing gas”. However, it proved to be fairly unreliable for surgery. 

Diethylether came later in 1846 in America and surgery was successful for the first time. The following year 1847, in Adelaide, the first successful surgery with anaesthesia, was performed in Australia. Eventually, chloroform was introduced, and when Queen Victoria used it for the birth of her eighth child, it became accepted. 

The building contains libraries for the College doctors, meeting rooms and has housed the museum since 1993. 

Thank-you Ken for organising a very interesting and informative trip. 

Gaye Mc Hugh