A tradition of support

In the late 1800s, South Australian nurses decided to pursue a formal means of supporting their role and improving nursing standards and education. 

Inspired by the formation of the Australasian Trained Nurses Association (ATNA) in New South Wales in 1899, the Royal British Nurses Association (SA Branch) was founded shortly after. 

In 1905, thanks to the support of a forward thinking, highly dedicated nurse, Kate Hill, the South Australian branch of ATNA was created. It is from this organisation the Australian Nursing Federation in South Australia (ANF SA) evolved. ANF SA was created with two key objectives in mind; to protect the interests of trained nurses and to establish an Australian system for nurse registration. When the Nurses Registration Act came into force in 1920, a state based system for nurse registration was adopted. Prior to this nurses received certificates from the hospitals where they trained, ATNA or the Royal British Nurses Association. It was clear the state organisations would need to set up a federal body to ensure progress for the nation’s nurses. Following meetings with representatives from Australia’s various nursing organisations, the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) was formed in 1924. South Australia was the first state to establish a Nurses Registration Board. The Board was responsible for the training and examinations of every nurse in the state. While the introduction of the Board was certainly a step forward, the rules and regulations it followed were heavily based on those of ATNA.

In 1937, ANF received international recognition when it gained membership to the International Council of Nurses. ANF then went into recess in 1939, due to the outbreak of World War II, before recommencing operations in 1943.

1948 saw ANF change its focus when it gained registration in South Australia as a union with the South Australian Industrial Commission.

In 1955, ANF received Royal Assent for its work and the title of the organisation was changed to the Royal Australian Nursing Federation. The Federation was recognised again in 1976 under the Public Service Act of South Australia. Following a formal request by the Federation to drop the ‘Royal’ from its name, it became the Australian Nursing Federation (SA Branch) in 1988.

In 2010, the name of the organisation changed to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch), to include recognition of the unique role that midwives play in Australia’s health system.

In 2012, ANMF (SA Branch) embarked on a partnership with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and was endorsed to become the second International RNAO Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) Host.

In 2016, a first for South Australia, a law firm to be launched by a union. Union Legal SA was created to give members access to high quality, but affordable legal services delivered with care and compassion.

We reached a milestone 20,000 members in 2017, representing a 90 per cent increase in membership since 2009. 

In 2018 the Rosemary Bryant Foundation with established with support of ANMF (SA Branch) in order to fund high quality, translatable research that can be quickly adopted and embedded into practice.  

Our dedicated Education and Conference Centre officially opened its doors in 2018 (May). The state-of-the-art facility was commissioned as a means of further investing into the future of South Australia's health workforce. 

Today, ANMF (SA Branch) continues as a professional and industrial organisation representing more than 24,000 nurses, midwives and personal care assistants across South Australia. The organisation also incorporates the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Education Centre (ANMEC), a registered training organisation offering training in aged care, nursing and a variety of other health related areas. In 2023 the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Education Centre was recognised as the SA Small Training Provider of the Year at the South Australian Training Awards and were awarded silver recipients of Small Training Provider of the Year at the Australian Training Awards.