The history of diabetes groups in Australia: From little things big things grow

Self help and support groups are peer-run groups that support people with conditions and related well-being issues.

They are managed by members who share the same concerns, according to the definition by Self-Help Queensland.

Associations started off as self-help groups

What many people may not realise is that the first associations for people living with diabetes in Australia started off as self-help groups that were aiming to improve the lives of people with the condition.

The first of these was in New South Wales in 1937. This was then followed in the 1950s with Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania forming self-help associations. The focus of these associations was primarily around practical guidance and public education. As the associations were so similar, they decided to form a federal council.

Diabetes Federation of Australia is formed

And thus, the inaugural meeting of the Diabetes Federation of Australia (DFA) was held in Sydney in October 1957. NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania became the DFA’s inaugural members. In the late 1960s, the Diabetic Association of Western Australia and the Diabetic Association of Queensland joined the DFA. The Canberra Diabetes Centre joined in 1971.

On 8 September, 1976, the DFA was registered in the Australian Capital Territory as a company limited by guarantee and was established to be the official voice for diabetes in Australia to the government and the International Diabetes Federation.

DFA and Australian Diabetes Society unites

In March 1983, delegates of the DFA and the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) decided to unite under the name of The Australian Diabetes Foundation (ADF). Then, in 1987, the ADF changed its name to Diabetes Australia.

From humble beginnings as a collection of self-help groups and associations, Diabetes Australia is now a respected and valued source of information, advice and views utilised by both government and the community.

Through leadership, prevention, management and research, Diabetes Australia is committed to reducing the impact of diabetes.

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