Wakefield Anaesthetic Group (WAG) takes pride in its 60 year history of working together as a team to provide quality, reliable, comprehensive anaesthetic services in the Greater Adelaide Region. Our team of dedicated, friendly and experienced staff constantly strive to be of service to our surgeons and patients every day.
Tracey Wurfel brings knowledge, experience and innovation to WAG as the newly appointed Practice Manager and mentor to her cohesive team of administration staff. Our rooms support our team of committed Specialist Anaesthetists to provide a warm and friendly place for patient consultations.
In April 1959, Dr Howard Ellis and Dr Robert Muirhead had a vision to join together “like-minded Anaesthetists” to form a group of respected colleagues who together could provide quality anaesthetic services to the private hospitals in Adelaide. They worked in conditions that were far removed from modern day anaesthesia. Portable anaesthetic machines, airway equipment, and drugs where carried in the back of cars from one hospital to the next. Dr Ellis and Dr Muirhead invited Dr Malcolm Newland and Dr Colin Pryor to enter into a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” to share expenses and cover each other’s work. They were originally based in the Masonic Chambers on North Terrace – sharing rooms with Dr Jim Dinning, a widely regarded Neurosurgeon.
Later that year the group further expanded when Dr John Barker and Dr Evan Hallett joined. The Group’s first Practice Manager was employed in 1960 and was known to everyone as Mrs Hocking. By 1962 the Group needed their own rooms and so moved to 104 Brougham Place, North Adelaide. During this time, Dr Bob Steele, Dr Victor Dreosti and Dr Bill Mann joined and in search of larger rooms, the Group moved premises again to 94 Ward Street, North Adelaide in 1969.
Over the next 23 years, the Group – which was informally known as the “Ward Street Anaesthetists”- evolved with many distinguished and respected anaesthetic colleagues joining and leaving the group. The departure of Mrs Hocking in 1981 left a void in the office and Dr Harbans Gill invited Helen McMahon, who at that stage had been working as his bookkeeper and a nanny for his children, to help out in the office. In 2016 Helen (now Cooper) retired after being Practice Manager for 34 years. Dr Newland and Dr Ellis, the founding members, retired in 1986 and 1987 respectively after providing over 27 years of service to the Group. By the early 1990’s, the Group was looking for more modern facilities and the new building at Wakefield Clinic was a perfect central location.
It was in 1992, with the move to Wakefield Street that Wakefield Anaesthetic Group was born.
Wakefield Clinic was the group’s home for 11 years, during which time there were retirements but also a steady influx of locally trained Anaesthetists. During this time, Dr Maddern retired after 22 years of service, Dr Dreosti retired after 35 years, Dr Steele and Dr Mann retired after 36 years. The last remaining founding member, Dr Pryor, was around to see the move to the larger and newer (current) rooms across the road from Wakefield Clinic – 243 Wakefield St, Adelaide. After 47 years of private practice, moving private rooms five times and a massive change in the way in which anaesthesia was practiced, Dr Pryor retired in April 2006.
Wakefield Anaesthetic Group has a proud tradition of respected and skilled anaesthetists. Our members play many vital roles including:
- ANZCA examiner
- Past and Current Chairs of ASA Committees
- Convenor of 2009 ASA National Scientific Congress in Darwin
- Members of various Medical Advisory Committees for private hospitals in Adelaide
- Volunteering overseas in education and healthcare delivery
- Publications in peer reviewed journals
- Medical research
- Undergraduate and postgraduate training
Now 56 years later, after Ellis, Muirhead, Newland and Pryor joined together, the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” continues. Wakefield Anaesthetic Group is proud of its humble beginnings and continues its founding traditions with an ethos of mutual respect, trust and team work – putting us in an excellent position to form working partnerships with each other, our fellow surgeons and valued patients.
Our premises over the years
- Dr Robert Muirhead (1959-1967 – 8 years)
- Dr John Barker (1959-1976 – 17 years)
- Dr Malcolm Newland (1959-1986 – 27 years)
- Dr Colin Pryor (1959-2006 – 47 years)
- Dr Howard Ellis (1959-1987 – 28 years)
- Dr Evan Hallett (1959-1979 – 20 years)
- Dr Robert Steele (1964-2000 – 36 years)
- Dr Victor Dreosti (1964-1999 – 35 years)
- Dr Bill Mann (1967-2003 – 36 years)
- Dr John Watkins (1977-1987 – 10 years)
- Dr Max Maddern (1980-2002 – 22 years)
- Dr Carol McGuinness (1987-1991 – 4 years)
- Dr Derrick Selby (1987-2012 – 25 years) (returned 2017)
- Dr John Hughes (1988-1998 – 10 years)
- Dr Gayle Roberton (1990-1998 – 8 years)