- Today, Ostomy Tasmania is an incorporated non-profit organisation assisting over 1500 members across Tasmania, however this was not always the case.
Prior to December 1963, Tasmanian ostomates obtained their appliances (for which they had to pay) through an association in Victoria. Mrs May Cook, the then Secretary of QT Australia Ileostomy Association in Melbourne, contacted Mr John Vaux and Mr Alan Joyner about the formation of a Tasmanian group of QT Australia. The inaugural meeting of this group, QT Australia (Tasmanian Division) was held at the Launceston General Hospital on Saturday 7 December 1963 and was attended by 46 people including Mrs Cook as convenor. At this meeting, officers were elected for the new association, the Victorian constitution was adopted and dates were set for following meetings. Mrs Cook then demonstrated various ostomy appliances available for purchase, and explained the uses of items available free through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Members at the meeting decided that rather than establish a Distribution Centre in the north, they would collect their appliances either at the quarterly meetings or from the Secretary's home, or alternatively would have supplies posted to them on payment of a postage and packing fee of 6d. Subscription fees were set at £1 for full members and 10/- for associates.
John and Alan (who were Treasurer and Secretary respectively) would transport their stock of appliances to meetings in the north and south of the state, and after the meetings would distribute to members as required and enjoy the social aspects of the gathering. When they arrived home they would unload all the stock at Alan's home, which was used for distribution purposes between meetings. This pattern continued for more than a decade.
In 1971, it was decided to change the name of the association to Ileostomy and Colostomy Association (Tasmanian Division), in line with associations in other Australian states and also New Zealand. At this stage, the association had 209 members. The Secretary advised in his annual report to the association, that "Doctors were now co-operating more freely, and that he was endeavouring to have a trained Stomal Therapist installed in Tasmania."
Members continued to pay for their appliances until the introduction of the free appliance scheme in late 1975, however members were cautioned by the President that the free appliances were limited in the number issued to each person, and not all appliances were free.
In 1983, the Distribution Office, which had operated from various locations over the years, moved to the new Hampden House Community Centre in Battery Point, Hobart where it remained for some 16 years.
In 1991, ICA (Tasmanian Division) became an incorporated body. In August 1999, the association relocated to the Repatriation Centre, Davey Street, Hobart, as a tenant of the Tasmanian State Government. In May 2003, the name of the association was changed to Ostomy Tasmania Incorporated. This change was made to better reflect the broader membership covered (by this stage numbering over 1000 individuals).
Ostomy Tasmania moved location again in January 2011, as a result of the discontinuation of our lease when the State Government made the decision to develop the Repatriation Centre as a centre for specialist clinics. We are now located in the St Johns Park complex in New Town, in renovated premises provided by the Tasmanian State Government, although we now pay market rental on our lease. Our new offices and stock warehousing capacity are however a great improvement on our previous premises and have assisted our operational capacity.