70 years of Diabetes SA


1952: The “Diabetes Association of South Australia” emerged after Dr Charles Best expressed a view that there should be a diabetic association in South Australia (1952). “Such an association could run summer camps for diabetic children ... It could have a ‘big brother or sister’ movement, with older diabetics helping the new ones, and showing them that diabetes isn’t so bad after all. There could be club rooms where diabetics could learn some of the mathematics of their diet.”

1953: The Association held its inaugural meeting on 20 July 1953.

1954: The Diabetic Association of South Australia Incorporated was established in 1954.

1956: A country branch at Port Augusta providing diabetes services was formed.

1956: The first Children’s Camp was held for 15 children aged between 8 and 15 years (at Stirling between 10-19 Jan 1956).


1961: The first Teen and Young Adults Camp for 14 people aged 16 to 25 years old was held at The Ranch, Port Noarlunga.

1961: The Women’s Auxiliary was formed with 20 inaugural members.

1963: The Association participated in the Royal Adelaide Exhibition, and presented the ‘Diet Food’ stand to the public, selling the cookery book ‘Almost All about Diabetes’.

1967: The first office and advisory centre was opened in Adelaide city offering an advisory service and educational activities for people living with diabetes.

1967: The Association celebrated its first National Diabetes Awareness Week in South Australia using the theme ‘Be Alert, Be Tested, Be Sure’.


1970: First edition of the quarterly members only ‘DASA Reports’ was published.

1969: Extended services to country areas through establishing more branches in rural areas including Mount Gambier, Broken Hill, and Whyalla.

1972: The Association commenced selling a range of products directly to the public, including various injection devices.

1975: The ‘Diabetics Sisters’ Association’ was formed (this was the forerunner of the Australian Diabetes Educators Association), responsible for the coordination of teaching hospital staff.

1976: The Association’s bi-monthly newsletter ‘Alert’ first published.

1977: The Port Augusta branch was endeavouring to help local Aboriginal people with diabetes.

1978: Dietitian consultations at the advisory centre commenced.


1980: Collaboration with the medical profession and diabetes educators for the statewide education campaign aimed to inform the public of the new U-100 insulin.

1981: The Association provided public educational meetings involving diabetes specialists and nurse educators.

1983: In conjunction with the Dietetic Association of Australia, the SA Branch produced the booklet ‘The General Diabetic Diet’ for type 2 diabetes.

1983: The establishment of the Parents of Young Diabetes (POYD) as a sub-branch of Diabetes SA providing emotional, physical and social support to the young people with diabetes and their families.

1984: The Association’s library was opened offering diabetes related books.

1987: The Family Support groups replaced the POYD to continue supporting young people living with diabetes and their families in country areas.

1987: First production of the Women’s Auxiliary cookbook ‘Easy Diabetic Recipes’.

1988: Partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Diabetes Centre for an information marquee in Rundle Mall.

1989: The Association educated the public to understand that ‘Human insulin’ was manufactured in a lab, not made from human tissue.

1989: The first adults’ camp was held for 18 people at the Red Shield Holiday Centre on 13-15 March.


1990: Introduction of a free service for members for the safe disposal of used needles and syringes.

1995: Working collaboratively with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and UniSA organised a tele-conference for nurses in rural areas.

1995: The first World Diabetes Day is celebrated.

1998: In response to the new message on sugar in diabetes diets, the Association provides education by diabetes educators and dietitians for the current advice on diet.


2000: Partnership with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Parents’ Education Days to educate parents who have children with diabetes.

2000: Promoted the reduction of risk factors of type 2 diabetes in the National Diabetes Awareness week by distributing the message of lifestyle changes.

2001: Announcement of free needles and syringes for people living with diabetes following the Association’s lobbying of the State Government.

2002: ‘Food Celebration Cookbook’ was republished as a revised edition.

2006: The ‘Alert’ magazine was transformed to the ‘Living’ magazine, disseminating the latest diabetes and associated health information.

2007: Launch of TV segments ‘Feeling Good’ and ‘Diabetes Affects Everyone’ with Channel 9, and the ‘Great Australian Bite and Lighten Up SA’ with 5AA radio aimed to raise awareness of the organisation and its services.

2008: Launch of the online shop.


2010 : The Association partnered with Savers to form the Clothing Collection operation to raise income to fund Association activities (this service later ended in June 2017).

2011: The library resources were relocated.

2011: A dedicated expansion of ‘Access Points’ (community pharmacies) providing NDSS products commenced.

2011: The rollout of a teaching resource ‘Feltman’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

2011: The provision of an education session for Aboriginal Health Workers.

2013: The Diabetes EXPO was held at the Adelaide Festival Centre to raise awareness of diabetes in the community and provide information about diabetes self-management.

2014: Launched an online learning platform to increase accessibility to those people unable to attend face to face education.

2014: Developed a ‘Workplace Information Pack’ for employees and employers about diabetes.

2015: A new resource for young adults ‘Diabetes: fitting in with your life’ was developed to guide young adults living with diabetes and their family and friends.

2017: The Association updated its vison and mission statements and launched a new Strategic Plan for 2017-2020.

2017: The Association announced the first round of research funding for diabetes research to provide better outcomes for people at risk or living with diabetes.

2017: The Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program Project commenced in July 2017 with the aim of providing recommendations for a potential prevention program.

2017: The Market Research project undertaken by Flinders Business to provide the evidence for a sustainable pathway for the organisation culminated in a series of reports in 2018-201910.

2017:  The Health Professional Awareness program was introduced involving updating GP’s and GP practice staff and other health professionals about services available under the NDSS and Diabetes SA.

2018: Diabetes SA Research Grant funding of $270,750 was provided to 6 research teams conducting research in diabetes in Australia.

2018: The first “Diabetes in South Australia: Demographic report 2018” was produced.

2018: Diabetes SA launches new brand and website with the theme of ‘Support Always’.

2019: Second round of Diabetes SA Research Grant Funding announced.


2020: $300,000 in Diabetes SA Research Grant funding awarded to three South Australians.