AMA House a perfect location for headquarters
AMA House was constructed throughout 1990 on a special 99-year lease block on the edge of what is known as the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra.
The Parliamentary Triangle is the largely ceremonial precinct in the nation’s capital and straddles the part of Lake Burley Griffin where some of Australia’s most significant institutional buildings find their home on its banks.
The High Court, the National Gallery, the National Library, the National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon), the National Archives, the Treasury, Old Parliament House and, of course, Parliament House are all located in the Triangle – as is the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and Reconciliation Place.
Other Federal Government departments are also located either inside or close to the Triangle, with a smaller triangle within the precinct known as the Parliamentary Zone on the lake’s southern shore.
AMA House is located on the edges of the Triangle’s official boundary and within close walking distance to Parliament House.
It was a longstanding ambition of the AMA to have a national headquarters in Canberra.
The Federal Secretariat at that time had been working out of a building in Sydney owned since 1924 by the Australasian Medical Publishing Company (AMPCo, publisher of the MJA), but which was sold in 1989 to The University of Sydney.
During the construction period, Federal Secretariat staff occupied an office in Queanbeyan, on the NSW-ACT border just a few kilometres from where the organisation’s new home was being built.
During this period, the AMA also adopted a new national logo and launched a new national journal, Australian Medicine (this publication).
On March 7, 1991, AMA House was officially opened in Canberra by the highly esteemed biologist Professor Sir Gustav Nossal, who was/is also an AMA member.
At the time of its opening, Dr Bruce Shepherd was the AMA Federal President and Allan Passmore the Secretary General.
Once in its new home, the Federal Secretariat quickly created AMA departments with expertise in general practice, medical fees and medical insurance, public relations and communications, public health and hospital and health funding.
Staff for the most part were all located on the third and fourth (top) floors of the building.
In recent years, housing of staff was reduced exclusively to the fourth floor, with the third floor used for membership workshops and meetings of the Federal Council.
Offices were leased out to other organisations and businesses on the remaining floors.
With the sale of AMA House, the organisation retains naming rights and the exclusive lease of the fourth floor.
Pic: AMA House under construction.