In the early 1940s Miss Diana Mann and Miss Emmie Russell planned the formation of the Orthoptic Association of Australia, which was inaugurated in 1943. So began the organised effort to develop and promote the profession and the formal exchange of ideas and scientific endeavour the Annual Scientific Meeting, which was first held in Melbourne from 11-12 October 1944. This was held at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, but the first session was held at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital where “members undertook to test and initiate treatment on certain cases of squint presented to them”.
What was considered the first volume of the journal and referred to as ‘Journal No.1’ of the ‘Transactions of the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Orthoptic Association of Australia’ was first published in 1959. However, the Transactions of each Annual Scientific Meeting, which were simply duplicated typed manuscripts were available to participants since the very first meeting in 1944. It was in 1958 that the Editor Miss Diana Mann “initiated a new policy” to “quickly circulate” the Transactions “among those members, and others interested, who were unable to attend”. It would appear that Miss Diana Mann was the first to fully embrace the role of Editor for the 1958 Transactions, which was the immediate precursor to the aforementioned first volume of 1959, and indeed that 1958 issue resembled a journal format with a table of contents included. The publication of the journal-style Transactions continued until 1966 when the 8th volume and the first entitled the “Australian Orthoptic Journal” was published. Miss Barbara Lewin and Miss Ann Metcalfe were listed as the Honorary Co-Editors of that issue. To preserve history, Miss Jane Russell collected, indexed and photocopied the earlier transactions into two volumes. Three sets were bound and given to the Association’s NSW Branch, the library of the Paramedical College and to Miss Patricia Lance’s father, Dr Arnold Lance.
In “Volume 10” of the Australian Orthoptic Journal (1969-70), the first editorial committee was put together as “Sub-Editors” to assist the Editor, Miss Neryla Heard. One of this editorial committee’s first tasks was to develop guidelines for authors wishing to publish in the Journal. This was the consequence of discussions with Dr G. Serpell at a meeting in 1969, who “spoke on the art of editing” and clearly inspired the Association to move the Journal to a new phase. The longevity and growth of the Australian Orthoptic Journal is a testament to the Editors of the past for their commitment and dedication to disseminating the science of our discipline and maintaining a record of our history.
Journal history adapted from: Koklanis K, Georgievski, G. Life Begins in the 40’s: A Ruby Tribute to this Australian Orthoptic Icon. Australian Orthoptic Journal. 2008; 40(1): 6-7.