At the end of each president’s term, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) commissions a portrait. There is now quite the collection of painted portraits dating back to 1992, when the college formally came into being. In 2016, ANZCA Council decided to work with photography as a medium for these portraits. In 2022, past president, Dr Rodney Mitchell chose to work with Jessica Hromas, producing a very different portrait, which is now hanging in the heritage listed Ulimaroa. Dr Mitchell has prepared some reflections about the process and the outcome.

The township of Alice Springs/Mparntwe forms the backdrop of the portrait. I was keen to convey my time as President within the context of our College’s increasing recognition that the world-class anaesthesia and pain medicine services need to be made accessible to all members of our community. This involves engaging with those marginalised sectors that include rural and Indigenous populations. I was also comfortable being photographed outside of the immediate hospital environment, in recognition of the increasing confidence of the role we play in engaging with the community on broader matters of health. In recent times this has included contributions to discussions around health equity, gender equity, marriage equality, health impacts of climate change, and access to health care services for asylum seekers.

The pounamu which was gifted to me by my New Zealand colleagues within the college is visible around my neck, as testimony to the importance of our identity as a bi-national college, and as testimony to the official and warmly embraced bi-cultural identity of one of our two nations, Aotearoa/New Zealand. The respect of our College for the First-Nations people of Aotearoa/New Zealand extends to our respect for the first-nations peoples of Australia.

The pocket-chief gifted to me by the Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiology is visible in my left breast pocket. Our college continues to recognise our responsibilities and opportunities within the global context of health-service delivery, and our formal partnerships with our overseas colleagues in countries from across the entire income spectrum continue to flourish.

The considerable achievements of our College are due in large part to the significant contributions made by so many people outside of usual working hours. This does of-course impact on time available to spend with family. The gold chain looped around my belt is attached to the fob-watch gifted to me by my wife on our wedding day, and represents a silent but heartfelt tribute to the patient and selfless support that I and many others within our College receive and continue to receive from those nearest and dearest to us.


Dr Rodney Mitchell, former ANZCA president, sitting on a hill overlooking Alice Springs / Mparntwe as dark clouds roll through the background.

Dr Rodney Mitchell, photographed in Alice Springs / Mparntwe by Jessica Hromas, 2022