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Defence Health

Army Malaria Institute

History

Early Photo
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) had its first encounter with malaria at Gallipoli in 1915 although only with a few cases. By the end of WW1 the ADF had experienced the true impact of malaria with half of the Desert Mounted Corps in Palestine incapacitated by malaria with over 100 ADF deaths attributed to it.

At the beginning of the Pacific campaign of WWII there was a critical shortage of quinine in Australia. 90% of the worlds supply was produced in Indonesia which lay directly in the path of the advancing Japanese forces. The Australian Army under the guidance of Colonel N.H. Fairley established a malaria experimental group in Cairns in 1943 where malaria was still present at the time. With the assistance of Australian Malaria Control Units and Mobile Entomological Sections the experimental group were able to advance their studies with sulphamerazine and atebrin. The final experiments in by the Cairns experimental group were conducted in Mar 1946.

The 1 Malaria Research Laboratory was established in 1967 by the efforts of R.H. Black, professor of Tropical Medicine at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Sydney University. Black was also consultant in tropical medicine to the ADF and following the malaria problems experienced by ADF troops in Vietnam recommended to the ADF Medical Services that they should conduct research into malaria to minimise future problems with this disease. The 1 Malarial Research Laboratory was originally located within the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine but moved to the Ingleburn Army Camp in 1973 and the name changed to the Army Malaria Research Unit. In 1996 the unit moved to a modern laboratory complex at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane and renamed the Australian Army Malaria Institute.

Colonel NH Fairley
Early Photo

23 April, 2010