Background: The Surgical Research Society of Australasia (SRS) was established in 1961. The main intent was to promote surgical research, especially by young surgeons. The 50th Scientific Meeting of the SRS is due to be held in 2002.Methods: Selected information was extracted from the programme books for the scientific meetings of the SRS, while historical material was retrieved from the Records and Archives Unit of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.Results: There have been 48 scientific meetings of the SRS between 1962 and 2000 inclusive, which have included the presentation of 1627 free papers. Forty-one percent of the presenters (325/784) have done so on more than one occasion. The content of the presentations reflects the changing nature of surgical research during the last several decades.Conclusions: The SRS has achieved its original intent of promoting surgical research.