Dr Christine Ball was one of the people honoured in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours. We’ve always known she was pretty special, and feel honoured that she gives so much of herself to the Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History. It’s also marvellous that she has now been recognised on the national stage for everything that she does. Dr Christine Ball was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her services to anaesthesiology and medical education. 

Dr Christine Ball has been involved with the Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History for over 25 years. She began by producing short object histories for Australia’s top anaesthesia journal, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. This work has continued and, in 2012, culminated in the production of an informative and attractive hardcover book Historical Notes in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. This book is constantly in use and has been the product of thorough, comprehensive historical research.

Dr Ball’s involvement in the international medical history community has earned her a reputation of distinction and, by association, this has been a core part of the museum’s reputation. Her high level research into the history of anaesthesia and anaesthetic equipment and practices, has provided a large body of knowledge for the museum and other historians. The quality of her work and commitment to the museum has enabled a niche museum to become a point of interest in the wider community.

As well as being a dedicated researcher and publisher, Dr Ball is also a current clinical anaesthetist. In addition to her clinical work, which is perhaps best referred to by others, she is also a lecturer in perioperative medicine at Monash University and brings a vast range of clinical knowledge to the museum and the study of history. Dr Ball’s technical knowledge of anaesthesia practice adds invaluable assistance to the museum, particularly with object research and exhibition planning and development. Her many publications on the topic have earned her an impressive and deserved international reputation in the field of medical history. Geoffrey Kaye, for whom the museum is named, believed it was essential to interrogate the past in order to better understand the present and plan for the future, and Dr Ball both exhibits that kind of enquiry and encourages it amongst her colleagues and trainees. She has prepared a number of education programs which allow for medical and non-medical visitors alike to enjoy the history of the specialty through her unique story-telling capacity, cleverly presenting highly technical information as humorous, informative anecdotes which are accessible to a wide audience.

Dr Ball has also been responsible for a number of key exhibitions during the past 25 years, including a 2014 relocation and redevelopment of the museum space. As such, she was responsible for the research, content development, interpretation and display. When the museum re-opened following the redevelopment, Dr Ball skilfully took on the role as the public face of the museum, fielding interviews from newspapers and radio stations.

Additionally, Dr Ball has spearheaded the development of an online oral history project. Capitalising on her own informal collection of oral histories, which she had filmed with a handy cam, she began working with professional staff to formalise the oral history project, often acting as both researcher and interviewer. The oral history project has continued to grow and currently there are 12 interviews available online, with more in either post-production or planning phase. The oral histories can be viewed at http://www.anzca.edu.au/about-anzca/anaesthesia-stories.

It is an absolute honour and delight to work with you. Congratulations on your award, it is richly deserved.